Basketball defeat brings changes
The Greek basketball team looks set to begin its search for a new coach and guard after being dumped out of the World Basketball Championship in Turkey by Spain on Saturday. Greece lost 80-72 to the world champion in the second round, ending its involvement at a much earlier stage than coach Jonas Kazlauskas and his players had hoped. Kazlauskas led Greece to third place at the European Championship last year but Greece’s performance in Turkey is likely to be deemed a failure by the local federation and his contract, which expires this week, is unlikely to be renewed. Having entrusted the team to the Lithuanian since last year, it seems likely that the Hellenic Basketball Federation will seek to appoint a Greek coach to succeed him. Whoever does take over will have the task of lifting the team after a disappointing championship, during which the Greek players found it difficult to break down zone defenses, such as that employed by Spain. The new coach will also have to start rebuilding the team, as Panathinaikos guard Dimitris Diamantidis announced that he was quitting international basketball. The 30-year-old has probably been Greece’s best and most consistent performer on offense and defense over the last five years, helping the team win the European Championship in 2005 and to finish as runners-up in the Worlds a year later.