Credit: BNS
Credit BNS

After the Zalgiris Kaunas made an announcement regarding Martin Schiller's firing, Paulius Motiejunas arranged a press conference where he talked about the club's changes in the coaching department.

"I know that it is unexpected, unwaited. I take responsibility for this. After Sarunas Jasikevicius left, we thought about something new, between the G-League, the NBA and EuroLeague. I admit that this project failed. We will move forward, I believe in this team," Motiejunas opened the press conference at Zalgiris Arena.

What was the breaking point?

The breaking point was yesterday's game. We understand that patience is needed. The same situation existed with Saras (1-4 start in his first season) but with him, we felt that we moved forward. We understand that time is required. We did not see the progress we wanted to see. We can wait but if you do not see progress, why wait?

Did you see any concerns after working full summer with Schiller and building the roster with him?

There were not any worries, because Martin was working intensively. We hired a scouts' company which analyzed the players. We talked a lot but on paper, you cannot see the real view of the team.

Coming back to players, I do not see our players' improvement. They do not play better than they played before somewhere else. We cannot see the general view.

Did Schiller's moves building the roster influence this decision?

For Schiller, it was his first time building the roster. It is normal that there is dissatisfaction with the image you see now. To give him the second chance is too big of a luxury for us.

Will the rest of the coaching staff change with Schiller's departure?

No, all coaches remain for now. Arne Woltmann will be the bench boss in the duel against Neptunas Klaipeda. When the new coach arrives we will see. All of them are great people who are devoted to their job. Their work is appreciated but we need the results also.

2-pointers this season

Points made: 18,5
Accuracy: 48,7%
Place in standings: 11
Record max: 20
Record min: 17
Most made 2FGs: Lukas Lekavičius

How about firing compensation for Schiller? Is it significant in the budget projection?

Contracts are as they are. Compensation has not yet been agreed. We will sort that out, as we will start working with an agency.

You have had fired Ilias Zouros after one match. Do you see similarities between past and present situations?

Of course, a lot of similarities. We had worked with Zouros before when Vladimir Romanov was in charge. As of now, then all summer we were building the team and talked about how things would go forward. But when we started playing, we didn’t move forward. The coach's position was the same.

Have you seen the changes on Schiller's side?

I would not like to comment. We did everything we could to make the team and coaching staff better, and we really try to help as much as possible. But every coach comes with their own theory, personal qualities and we won’t force them to change. We accept them as they are. The fact is that when you do not win, the tension increases.

After Jasikevicius left, you gave priority to the Lithuanian coach, now you have chosen a foreigner again. What are the reasons for this? Were there opportunities to invite Kazys Maksvytis or Dainius Adomaitis?

Kazys has a contract. We know the same club won’t release him a second time. Regarding Dainius, there were so many talks that we don’t want him for one reason or another. He is among the candidates.

We talked to his agent yesterday and had a discussion. We think Zdovc will be a better coach at the moment. We really have nothing personal against Dainius Adomaitis and I am not saying that he will never be here, although there are such comments from outside. The solution for the moment is as it is.

Zdovc last time coached the EuroLeague club a decade ago and has worked in three teams for the past four years, leaving them all after one season. What factors led to his hiring?

What we want now is a desire to fight for victory, passion, faith, and strictness. The latter aspect was one of the main things that hooked us. Also a discussion with him about the team.

He sees this roster as one that can be worked on. There may be more changes, but the most convincing thing is that we want a tough hand and we want the one who would believe in the players.

Jasikevicius was a strict coach, then you switched to a more discreet Schiller and now you go back to a tougher hand. Do you think such changes won't inbalance the team?

We would like to find the middle ground (smiles). I don’t know how to do that. The most important thing is the results. Give Saras back anytime. No matter how strict he was, but there were results and a full arena of fans. What matters to us is not what kind of coach, but victories, fighting on the court, and the character of Zalgiris.

How did Schiller and the players react to the club’s decision?

Schiller accepted very calmly and discreetly. He is a really great person and I very much hope that the working relationship will not ruin the personal relationship. The players' work is to play. Today is a free day, we haven’t even seen them all. We informed about the changes by phone, there will be a meeting tomorrow.

We want to win and the current time chosen is such that we will not bury this EuroLeague season. We don’t want to sit back and wait for something miraculously to change. The great respect to Schiller for his reaction. We will see how the players will react.

Did Schiller have any idea that the match with Zenit St Petersburg might be his last?

I don't think so. I don’t know how it is. Maybe he will comment himself.

This will be a disaster. The roster was weakened and they expect miracles in the first week. How about giving the coach some consistency. Yes you can't keep everyone but also acknowledge when you continiously lose your top talent to rivials it won't end well.
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