|29 November 2012|
|Juan Antonio Orenga is taking over Spain from Sergio Scariolo|
Juan Antonio Orenga will take over from Sergio Scariolo at the helm of the senior Spanish national team, the Spanish Basketball Federation announced on Wednesday night.
Orenga has been on the coaching staff as an assistant to Scariolo since the Italian's appointment, prior to EuroBasket 2009.
He was also the head coach of the U20 team on three occasions since 2007, only taking time out in summers when his obligations with the senior team did not allow him to be in charge.
Under Orenga, Spain took silver at the U20 European Championship in 2007, bronze in 2010 and reached the top of the podium in 2011 in the same competition.
"I only have good words to say about Orenga, he's been a great collaborator; He is a committed, intelligent and loyal person," Scariolo said at a press conference in the same Madrid hotel he was presented to the media four years ago.
"He's helped me many times to make the right decision, and not only on the technical level."
More praise for Scariolo's successor came from Spanish federation (FEB) president Jose Luis Saez.
"Orenga was a [Spain] international as a player, has worked at all youth levels and has been with us at the highest level for five years," he said.
"This was the moment to put faith in continuity and the structure of the national team.
"It's difficult to find someone better than Orenga on the market," Saez said, before adding that there is 'nothing provisional' about this move.
SCARIOLO AND SPAIN'S 'ELITE SPORTSMEN'
With Scariolo at the helm, Spain conquered their first ever EuroBasket gold medal, in 2009, and successfully defended their title in 2011.
However, as FIBAEurope.com and media around Europe had reported, being in charge of two top-level teams, Euroleague outfit EA7 Emporio Armani Milano and reigning European champions Spain, has taken its toll on him physically.
The confirmation came on Wednesday.
"Upon our return from [the Olympics in] London, I told Pepe (Saez) that I thought the moment had come," the Italian coach said.
"We took our time to think about it but I still think it's the right decision, that will allow me to pass more time with my family.
"My family is a priority that I have overlooked in recent years."
|One of the first to learn about Scariolo's decision: Juan Carlos Navarro|
Saez, who was sitting next to the Brescia-born tactician, confirmed that he knew about his intentions upon the team's arrival from the British capital, where Spain fell to the USA in a memorable final.
The FEB president then turned to Scariolo: "I could not convince you to continue as the coach, but I know that you are still a part of the project of the Federation.
"This is your home."
References such as this throughout the press conference have left a widow open for a potential return of the Italian coach in the future, perhaps at a different role.
"I spoke with Pau [Gasol] and Juan Carlos [Navarro], they've understood my reasons," Scariolo said.
"They were emotional moments, they've been the representatives of the team and I wanted them to know my decision in advance.
"I'd like to thank all the players for their respect and discipline, especially since I gave them less minutes [of playing time] than at their clubs.
"Above all, for teaching me how an elite sportsman has to be, I've learned a lot from them.
"I feel [that I am now] a better coach and person than four years ago."