“I learned an awful lot going to the EuroLeague. It’s a different form of basketball. It’s the best offensive basketball played, [including] college and the NBA. The best offensive sets, the best ball movement, the best cuts backdoor, the best passing, the best shooting. They don’t have the defenses we have because the athleticism isn’t as powerful, but from a learning standpoint, I learned quite a bit”, Pitino has said, later adding about his coaching of Panathinaikos and the Greek national team (Hall of Famer coach had a contract until 2021 with the Greek powerhouse): “I’m going to fulfill my commitments. We’re in sixth place fighting for a playoff spot. And I’m still going to coach the national team. [If the NBA season ends in time], I’m going to get the “Greek Freak” [Giannis Antetokounmpo] on my team”.
Pitino has later added that the Iona gig will be the last of his career: “It’s the perfect way for me to end a long coaching career. It’s just the perfect ending for me. I couldn’t think of a more perfect ending. It matches the values I have away from the court. I’m super excited about it”.