Ural Great coach Drazen Anzulovic has quit the club on the eve of the EuroCup Quarter-Finals and taken the reins of Belgian side Charleroi.
In a shocking exit, Ural Great claim Anzulovic is still under contract and warn they may take legal action.
The club held a press conference on Monday to discuss what happened, with Ural Great president Andrey Agishev expressing his dismay while at the same time also showing he has a sense of humor.
|“||The players' first reaction to the news was a shock. But after some time, they thought and came to their own conclusions.||„|
Ural Great President
Agishev said to the assembled media: "Theoretically, Anzulovic can meet the team in Tartu and ask them, ‘Where have you guys been? I arrived here earlier than you.'"
Roman Dvinyaninov, a former assistant coach of Ural Great, will lead the team at Tartu and he will be assisted by Vyacheslav Shushakov.
If anything, Anzulovic's departure has galvanized the players.
"I liked the meeting we had with the team after everybody knew what happened," Agishev said.
"The players' first reaction to the news was a shock. But after some time, they thought and came to their own conclusions.
"Both Russian and foreign players said at that meeting that we have to unite and play for each other.
"We are one and a united team.
"Alexei Zozulin spoke for the Russian players, (American) Andrew Wisniewski for our foreign guys."
Agishev understood well how his players felt after the meeting.
"We did not even need a translator, everything was clear from the intonation those words were said," Agishev said.
"Wisniewski emphasized that the players played on the court, not Anzulovic. And only players can decide what happens in the future."
Agishev wasn't smiling when he spoke about Anzulovic's actions, though.
"We had, I think, eight hours of negotiations with him," Agishev explained. "Eye to eye, together with his assistant Dario (Djergia) Gjergja, with their agent who urgently arrived to Perm.
"I did not hear any single reasonable argument explaining their decision. There were many questions asked, many words said. But all of them met one and the same answer, ‘I want to make my career. I want to leave. I do not see myself in Ural Great.'
"We suggested that Anzulovic had an offer from one of the top clubs. It would not be a problem for me. I can understand what it means to receive a chance which may be once in your life.
|Andrew Wisniewski will lead Ural Great against Tartu Rock in the EuroCup Quarter-Final round.|
"But he could tell me as a man to man, ‘Andrey let me go.' I would understand that.
"But now we know it was all about Spirou Charleroi. I now see why he did not say to me where he was going. I would have laughed if I heard that."
Ural Great's general manager, Russian legend Sergey Belov, sat alongside Agishev and offered some thoughts.
"Our president said that people may suggest a possible mess at Ural Great, but I think the real mess is in Drazen's head," Belov said in remarks published on the Ural Great website.
"He has not given any single reasonable argument for his departure. We are in a situation that we do not want to look like fools but we still look so.
"We have all (proper) conditions for work, so there is no reason for us to feel guilty. We had disputes, but these happened only in our closed circle.
"Neither the president of Ural Great, nor its general manager said any critical words towards Drazen.
"We knew he left Zagreb and Cibona not quite peacefully, but to leave everything in the middle of the season is his know-how.
"If two contractual parties cannot find a common language, they go to the court.
"In our case, it may be the court in the place of location of the club and a FIBA arbitral tribunal.
"I do not accept the situation that Anzulovic has two valid contracts at the same time."
Charleroi confirmed Anzulovic's arrival on their website, writing: "This Tuesday, Drazen Anzulovic will take over the team.
"The Croatian coach, 40, who succeeds Eddy Casteels, arrived yesterday at Charleroi to get to know the staff.
"At the same time, Matt Walsh has joined the team. The American player is a great shooter and a combative player who will be a boost on the bench.
"Anzulovic and Walsh will make their official debut with the Spirou on Saturday at Ostende."