Vasily Karasev has the full backing of the Russian Basketball Federation to become head coach at Eurobasket next month, ending a period of uncertainty.
Unfortunately for Karasev though, he will be without shooting guard Sergey Bykov who has been forced to pull out due to injury.
For Russia, the problem of head coach has at least been sorted for when they board the plane to Slovenia in a few weeks. Karasev, who also coaches BC Triumph was made acting coach following Fotis Katsikaris’ departure in July.
Russia will make the trip to Riga to face Latvia in back-to-back warm-up games on Thursday and Friday, but will have to do it without Bykov, who averaged 5.1 points and 3 assists off the bench at Eurobasket in 2011. Helping the Russians to bronze.
Bykov has been a normal fixture for the national team since their victorious run at Eurobasket 2007 in Spain, but missed out on a place at last year’s Olympic Games in London.
“I spoke at length with Sergei, who really wants to be in the team, but he has a problem with his Achilles tendon that will not allow him to play for the national team this year,” Karasev said.
“For us, it’s a loss, but we are all well aware that you cannot take risks when it comes to health.
“Moreover, even if he underwent speed treatment and recovery, Sergei would still not have time to reach peak form in time for Eurobasket so unfortunately, we are going to Slovenia without him.”
Despite the vast amount of absentees for next month’s event, Karasev is happy with his squad at the moment and admits having a difficult choice to make in regards to picking his final team ahead of the tournament start on September 4.
“I now have 17 players in the preliminary squad, and I think I will make the final selection shortly before our departure for Eurobasket,” Karasev said.
“Ahead of us we have a series of friendly games, which will show us a lot.”
Russia are housed in Group D alongside Italy, Turkey, Greece, Sweden and Finland.