Russia To Hand Reins To Katsikaris

23 December 2012

Head Coach  Fotis Katsikaris
The Russian federation is expected to officially announce that Fotis Katsikaris will be the new head coach of the senior national team on Monday

Russian Basketball Federation (RBF) president Alexander Krasnenkov confirmed on Sunday that the new head coach of the men's senior national team will be Fotis Katsikaris.

The appointment still needs to be ratified by the executive board of the federation, which convenes on Monday 24 December.

Speaking to Russian news agency R-Sport, the RBF president also confirmed that Russia will employ Katsikaris following the same formula as with his predecessor, David Blatt, who left the position vacant in October.

"Fotis will be committed to the Russian national team only during the summer period," Krasnenkov said.

"And then he will return to the club, we didn't insist that he was released. That is his decision to stay with the club."

Katsikaris is in his fourth season at the helm of Bilbao Basket (Uxue Bilbao as of last Thursday) who are currently in third place in the Spanish Liga Endesa.

The 45-year old Greek spent the best part of his playing days at AEK Athens.

He began his coaching career at the same club, first as an assistant to Kostas Politis and then to Dusan Ivkovic, the current head coach of Olympiacos and Serbia.

Katsikaris took over as head coach at the Athenian club in 2003 and left two years later to experience working in Russia for the first time, at the helm of Dynamo Moscow.

He took over at Valencia Basket (then Pamesa) in 2006 and, after a brief spell at Aris Thessaloniki, he returned to Spain for Bilbao.

Under the Greek tactician, the Basques reached the Top-16 of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague and the Liga Endesa finals for the first time in the club's history.

The upcoming major challenge for Katsikaris is to steer Russia to a podium finish at EuroBasket 2013.

He is however expected to sign a contract that will see him stay at the helm of the European powerhouse beyond the big event in Slovenia and up to the Rio Olympics in 2016.

Blatt had led Russia to the bronze medal at the London Olympics last summer.

During the six years of Blatt's tenure, the European powerhouse also conquered the EuroBasket 2007 title after defeating hosts Spain in a memorable final and the bronze medal at EuroBasket 2011 in Lithuania.

The Israeli-American coach had successfully combined his post at the Russian national team with jobs at top clubs like Maccabi Tel Aviv, Efes Pilsen, Aris and Benetton Treviso.

Russia were drawn into Group D in the First Round of the EuroBasket and will face Italy, Turkey, Finland, Sweden and the compatriots of their new coach, Greece.



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