"It's a complicated, very complicated business. ... It seems to me that the whole process won't take a few weeks. It looks like it will last longer. The team is looking at the market to find some solutions," Penarroya said.

Credit: ZUMAPRESS.com-Scanpix
Credit ZUMAPRESS.com-Scanpix

Cazoo Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz head coach Joan Penarroya spoke about the suspension of Pierria Henry following an anti-doping control and stated that the player "is sure that he has acted correctly" and is going to try to prove his innocence.

Points this season

Points made: 84,1
Accuracy: 47,7%
Place in standings: 2
Record max: 116
Record min: 61
Best scorer: Markus Howard

"What do you want me to tell you?" Penarroya referred to journalists at the start of the press conference before the Baskonia-Efes game. "It's a complicated, very complicated business. It has created a lot of doubt and commentaries, but it is an unprecedented situation. Even though many of you believe otherwise, the team's announcement is clear and that's the way things are."

FIBA has suspended Henry's license and opened a file on the point guard but it wasn't caused by a positive test result, the Spanish club announced in a statement yesterday. The suspension arrives "from a procedural manner", Baskonia wrote. 

However, Ivan Benito from El Correo wrote earlier today that FIBA suspects Pierria Henry used synthetic urine for his anti-doping sample. If the allegations are proven correct, the guard might lose his FIBA basketball license for multiple years or even for life.

"We have to show our support to the player. If it's an unpleasant case for the team, it's especially complicated for the guy," Penarroya pointed out.

"We lost a very important player. You see his statistics, but beyond that, it's everything that Henry does or did for the team: his contribution to team chemistry and his defensive energy.

The team has been aware of the situation for a few days. It wasn't comfortable to be like this," the Spanish specialist added.

Looking to the future, Henry's fate in Vitoria is unknown.

"I have no idea if we can count on Henry, but it seems to me that the whole process won't take a few weeks. It looks like it will last longer. The team is looking at the market to find some solution that will help us, but you know it's not easy.

There are several teams at the top level who are looking for a player in this position and have not found anyone. We continue as it is, we try to be competitive and win the games," Penarroya concluded.

Aris Barkas of Eurohoops reported that Max Heidegger is expected to leave the Turkish team -- Merkezefendi -- for Baskonia.

With 11 wins and 9 losses, the Basques currently sit 7th in the EuroLeague standings. The Spanish team welcomes the reigning tournament's champions Anadolu Efes Istanbul at home on Friday, who also share the same record as the hosts.

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