Greece’s new national basketball team coach Rick Pitino declared today that he is ready to lead Greece to Tokyo for Japan’s 2020 Summer Olympics.
Pitino, who was announced as the new coach of the Greek squad on Monday, outlined his next steps in an interview with the Associated Press.
The American coach praised the morale of the Greek team, giving a special mention to the quality of all of its players.
”What an incredible thing for you as a coach,’’ was what Pitino admitted saying to himself when he realized he would be leading the Greek team in its quest for basketball glory in Japan.
Pitino has shown how seriously he is taking his new mission, saying that coaching Greece’s national hoops team is ”the crown jewel for me as a basketball coach.”
The new coach for Greece will have to schedule his tactics and plans without NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo in the near future, since the qualifying tournament for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo will take place concurrently with Giannis’ important duties with the Milwaukee Bucks.
However, Pitino has already stated that he will always have a place for Giannis on the team in case circumstances allow him to join the Greek squad in time for the qualifying games for Tokyo.
For this reason, Pitino said he would leave one roster spot open for Antetokounmpo in qualifying games, despite not being sure if he will be able to rely on his most talented player.
To highlight his dedication to his new goal, the new coach of the Greek national team declared in his interview that ”for the next eight months, I am not American, I am not Italian, I am Greek.”
”That’s the way I am going to carry myself,’’ the legendary American collegiate and NBA coach noted.
Greece will attempt to earn its way into the basketball competition at the Tokyo Olympics by winning a qualifying tournament.