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Fotis Katsikaris, the new coach of Basketball Girona

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A coach with experience in the ACB

Girona Basketball announced this evening the addition of Fotis Katsikaris as new coach until the end of the season. The Greek coach, 56 years old, has as his main objective to avoid the relegation of a team that started the ACB league with good feelings but has now lost seven consecutive games and, as president Marc Gasol acknowledged yesterday, has morale very low Katsikaris replaces Salva Camps, who was dismissed after the defeat against Breogán.

Katsikaris has a long career as a coach in the ACB, where he has managed 349 games in 13 seasons, with a record of 192 wins and 157 losses. He has been in charge of Pamesa, Bilbao, UCAM Murcia, Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Unicaja, in addition to other teams such as AEK Athens, Dynamo Saint Petersburg or Hapoel Jerusalem. He was also an assistant coach for the Utah Jazz in the NBA. Before dedicating himself to the bench, he was a basketball player, occupying the base position, in several Greek clubs.

A difficult but not impossible challenge

Katsikaris has accepted the challenge of removing Básquet Girona from the lower zone of the classification and ensuring permanence in the ACB. For this, he will have to win five or six games of the fifteen remaining to end the regular season. The first test will be this Sunday in Fontajau, where they will receive the visit of a direct rival such as Granada. After letting the opportunities slip away against the last two, Palencia and Breogán, another failure could be fatal and, even, place the Girona side in the relegation zone depending on the rest of the results. The new coach will be introduced tomorrow.

The club and the Greek coach had a principle of agreement since Tuesday and today, although the signature did not take place until the evening, the operation has been closed. AEK’s possible interest in signing him (Joan Plaza’s position hangs in the balance) has led to doubts in the afternoon that Katsikaris’ arrival in Girona could be complicated, but the deal has finally been confirmed. The new coach knows Fontajau because he played two matches against Akasvayu in the 2006/07 and 2007/08 seasons with Pamesa Valencia. On April 6, 2007, they beat the team coached by Svetislav Pesic 71-74, with Marc Gasol contributing 11 points and 6 rebounds for the home side. On October 17th of that same year, in another very tight duel, the triumph went to Girona (83-82). The president of the current club scored 19 points for the team led by Pedro Martínez.

He has also been a national coach and has international experience

In addition to his ACB experience, Katsikaris has also been the national coach of Russia and Greece and has coached in the Greek, Russian and Israeli leagues. With Russia he won the bronze medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games, while with Greece he participated in the 2014 World Cup and the 2015 European Championship. In other leagues, he has won a Greek Cup with AEK Athens , a Russian Cup with Dynamo Saint Petersburg and an Israeli Cup with Hapoel Jerusalem.

Básquet Girona is looking for reinforcements to improve the team

With the coach confirmed, Básquet Girona begins the reassembled operation. The focus is on Sunday, but also, looking at the longer term, on the incorporation of at least a couple of reinforcements that increase the level of the team. The club is clear that it needs a pivot of reference that dominates the area and allows Golomán to play more than 4. It is also not ruled out to bring a shooter that improves the external threat. The possible signings will be agreed with Katsikaris and General Manager Txus Escosa and will probably be linked to the departures of some of the most discussed players. There is a deadline for signing players currently playing in the ACB: they must have left their current club before February 28.

The next four games will mark whether Girona rectify in time or bravely entangle themselves until the end of the season. After receiving Granada, the team will go to Madrid and then have two direct rivals, Andorra and Obradoiro, with the King’s Cup and national team stops in between.

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