Sarunas Jasikevicius: 'Everything Pau Gasol does comes from the heart'

Miguel Lois Vidal
2021-10-06 08:17
Credit: REUTERS - Scanpix
Credit REUTERS - Scanpix

After FC Barcelona won their fifth straight game at the Spanish Liga ACB, head coach Sarunas Jasikevicius was happy with the contribution of his role players and paid respects to Pau Gasol, who announced his retirement yesterday.

Being aware of the demanding schedule (Barca will play 8 games in the next 16 days), coach Jasikevicius gave Brandon Davies a rest. 

"We didn't start well in the first half. We made too many mistakes on defense details. On offense, we were too hasty. Then we came solid after halftime. It is important to win as we have too many games now," he said about the game.

Nigel Hayes, who has had a quick adaptation so far in Barcelona, was praised by Jasikevicius in the press conference.

"I like a lot of things about him, especially his character. He arrived just a few weeks ago, but he is capable of leading. We needed a player like him. He can play in the low post as a 3, as well as he can open the court as a 4", he analyzed. 

Asked about Pau Gasol, the Lithuanian coach praised his humility off the court.

"I met him in late 2001. I am glad to say he is my friend. He is a simple guy, as you have seen at the ceremony. He thanked his parents, this is the key. He adores his family. It is great to spend time with him. You can talk about whatever you want with him."

"I always say that I love the human side of Pau. You can feel that all the things he does are done from the heart," Jasikevicius added.

Finally, he ensured he will be a Hall of Fame member. 

"The question is not if Pau will be a Hall of Famer, it is if he will be a first-ballot (when a player becomes HoF the first-year eligible after retiring)," he concluded.

Nicolas Laprovittola, who scored game-high 11 points (8 in the last quarter), felt happy after the game.

"When you arrive at a team like this, with many great players and a different philosophy, you need time to adapt. These games are important to gain confidence and know your teammates more on the court. We are on the right way", the Argentinian guard said. 

Pierre Oriola, who scored 10 points against Zaragoza, spoke about the difficulties of a packed schedule for Barcelona: "It is always difficult to start a game with the last one wrapping up just 48 hours ago. But we were able to close the score in the last quarter."

He regretted not being present at Pau Gasol's farewell ceremony and dedicated a few words to him: "It has been a luxury to see Pau play and enjoy him as a teammate later. He has been an example to follow and a mirror in which to look at myself."


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