|20 July 2013|
|Head Coach Fotis Katsikaris inexplicably pulled out of coaching Russia at EuroBasket just days out from training camp |
The Russian Basketball Federation (RBF) officially confirmed on Saturday that Fotis Katsikaris has stepped down as head coach of the senior national team, two days ahead of the start of training camp for EuroBasket 2013.
Vasily Karasev, who was initially appointed as assistant coach of the national team last Thursday, will step in as interim head coach and conduct the first stage of Russia's training camp.
Karasev is the coach of Russian club BC Triumph and he was in charge of the nation's team that participated in the Universiade (University Games) in Kazan, Russia earlier in the summer.
Russia's preparations will get underway as scheduled on Monday 22 July and the executive committee of RBF will hold an extraordinary meeting on 23 July to decide on the coach who will steer the team to the EuroBasket.
Katsikaris had reached an agreement with the previous administration of the RBF in the winter to coach the team at EuroBasket 2013 and next year's World Cup, taking over from long-time boss David Blatt.
The RBF said in a statement on its website that Katsikaris had informed of his decision to terminate their contract early in a letter to acting president Julia Anikeeva.
"The Russian Basketball Federation sincerely regrets the decision taken by Fotis Katsikaris to refuse to work with the national team of Russia and the unilateral termination of the existing contract," the statement added.
Although the statement clarifies that the RBF does not concur with the version of events presented by that the Greek tactician, neither side has given any further reasons for the divorce.
Russia were drawn into First Round Group D at the EuroBasket and will go up against Italy, Turkey, Greece, Finland and Sweden.