Pablo Prigioni said late Wednesday that he is stepping down as Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz head coach. Prigioni made the announcement during the press conference after his team lost at home 63-80 to Valencia Basket to fall to 0-3 in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague. Baskonia has a 2-3 record in the Spanish League. Prigioni, whose hiring was announced in June, was in his first season as head coach after retiring as a player during January of last season with Baskonia. He is one of the club’s all-time great players and helped the club reach four consecutive EuroLeague Final Fours from 2005 through 2008. In all he played parts of eight seasons for Baskonia and retired ranked fifth in assists on the EuroLeague's all-time list (804) and third in steals (322). Baskonia subsequently registered assistant coach Sergio Valdeolmillos to head the bench when the team players Brose Bamberg on the road in Germany on Friday. Baskonia also announced that Jordan McRae, injured until now, will be available for that game. The club had previously announced the departure of Carlos Delfino, who had been with the team on an interim contract.
These are Prigioni's words from the press conference:
"I will not comment anything about the game, so I will go straight to Spanish. I am not going to continue coaching the team. To tell you the truth, I feel very frustrated for not being able meet my own expectations and mainly, the expectations the club had for me. I am apologizing to our fans, the president and the entire organization because I am not being able to help my players play good basketball, and that is what hurts the most. I feel very responsible for this and I don't want to damage the club or my players. I would rather leave the team to a different coach. I am sure they will find a qualified coach who can help this group of players get out of this situation. My coaching staff tried to stop my decision, but they know how I am. It hurts leaving the club in this situation and not matching its expectations, but I mainly feel bad because of my own expectations. I feel I am not able to improve the players individually and make them play good basketball collectively.
This is the reality and our results are there. We can argue about a thousand things - a tough start, the calendar, injured players, but I don't like to use all those excuses. The truth is that the team is not in a good situation in the EuroLeague and it is soon enough for someone to step in and refresh their heads, take them out of this depression. I took the decision; there is no chance for me to stay. Once again, I apologize to the fans, who were excited about this project. I thank them for thinking I could do well, but I would rather leave soon so that the club has a margin to react, being early in the season. I haven't talked to the club yet, I am telling you first. I don't feel like carry on coaching the team, for all these reasons I just told you. It is a sad day for me but you get to learn when you are hit hard in life. I wish the players and the club to have someone more capable than me so that he finds the rhythm, as the club has a good group of players, someone with a different vision, a different energy to help them carry on."
Watch the press conference video (in Spanish)