Pitino: “We dedicated this win to Thanasis Giannakopoulos”

The head coach of Panathinaikos OPAP Rick Pitino stated after the end of the game against Buducnost VOLI Podgorica:

“I’m elated. If they were going to be beat us, it would be in transition and from the three point line, but they were 8-of-28 from the three point line so we did our job there. Nick Calathes got his first triple-double, and if he’s not MVP of the league I don’t know who is because he’s brilliant. James Gist gave us a big life, all the guys played terrific. I replaced an outstanding coach. He’s every bit as good as me or any other coach in the EuroLeague. But the guys had to change their culture, for defense and offense, they had to change their whole mindset. Because they were hanging their heads when they lost rather than doing something about it. So I give the guys all the credit in the world, because they changed the culture. And now we’re in sixth place, going to the playoffs. Because we play so hard, and we’ve got such a great attitude, of course we’re dangerous. But I don’t think Real Madrid will lose sleep because they’re at home. We’re super-excited to reach the playoffs, and we dedicate this game to the godfather of this program who passed away. We dedicated this game to Thanasis Giannakopoulos who bled green, and I think he’s smiling upstairs from heaven.”