Three players say they won’t play for Greece with Rick Pitino coaching

Panagiotis Moschandreou/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images
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Greece coach Rick Pitino said he doesn’t expect Giannis Antetokounmpo to play in next summer’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

Pitino’s team could be even more short-handed in its bid to reach the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Emiliano Carchia of Sportando:

Georgios Printezis, Antonis Koniaris and Kostas Papanikolaou don’t want to play for Greek’s National Team with Rick Pitino head coach of Panathinaikos.

The [three] players of Olympiacos sent a letter to the Greek federation said the the situation is “toxic”, as reported by Sport24.

“If something does not change immediately on the bench”, we cannot be part of the team” the letter says.

Papanikolaou played for the Rockets and Nuggets a few years ago. Printezis ranked third on Greece in scoring during the 2019 FIBA World Cup (behind Antetokounmpo and Nick Calathes).

It seems they take the Olympiacos-Panathinaikos rivalry quite seriously. Of all the reasons to dislike Pitino, this is… one.

This also makes the road a little easier for Canada, Czech Republic and Turkey.