Russian basketball seems to be in tatters at this moment. And more bad news has hit today.
Timofey Mozgov, who has just recently inked a new three-year deal with the Denver Nuggets will not be at Eurobasket in September.
“I’m experiencing mixed feelings right now,” the 27-year-old center wrote in a personal column on the sports.ru website.
“I’m happy because there’s finally certainty with my future and I’ll continue to play in the NBA.
“But at the same time, I’m sincerely sorry I won’t be able to help our national team.”
But coach Vasily Karasev isn’t panicking just yet, despite Russia being without Sasha Kaun, Victor Khryapa and the recently retired Andrei Kirilenko for Eurobasket.
“It’s definitely a loss, but nothing tragic has happened,” Karasev told news agency R-Sport. “I understand Timofey’s reasons and forcing players to come to the national team is wrong.”
Karasev hinted that Andrei Vorontsevich would be used at the center position; a move that seems to be the best suited for what will be a small, and possibly inexperienced squad.
The head coach of BC Triumph has taken provisional charge of the national team following the surprise departure of Fotis Katsikaris with two days left until training camp was due to begin.
The Greek playcaller went public in calling the Russian Basketball Federation “unprofessional”.
He said: “The behaviour of the RBF administration is a shame to the history of Russian basketball. They will be held responsible from now.
“This is the first time I am facing such unprofessionalism from a basketball organisation.”
Minnesota Timberwolves guard Alexey Shved responded to the tweets by expressing his shock over the situation of the national side.
“Russia is mighty country and can’t afford to have this kind of mess,” he tweeted.
Karasev is handling the unfortunate pressure that he is facing well, and will stay with the team on an interim basis until the RBF finds a new coach.
The bronze-medallists in 2011 will be housed in Koper at Eurobasket, alongside Italy, Turkey, Finland, Sweden and Greece.