The Puerto Rican National Team's quest to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games may not end after Wednesday night's game against Uruguay, but Rick Pitino says his time as the team's head coach will.
"I'm done tonight," Pitino said on Wednesday's edition of "Ramsey & Rutherford" on 93.9 The Ville. "I've had three Puerto Rican coaches with me and I hope I've done right by them where they can take over. I haven't seen my family in three months, and that's quite a sacrifice."
Puerto Rico has been mathematically eliminated from earning one of the automatic qualifying spots for the Olympics that are provided by the FIBA Americas Championship that they've been participating in. The team can, however, earn fifth place in the event with a win over Uruguay on Wednesday. That would allow them to advance to the FIBA World Olympics Qualification Tournament in July, 2016, where they would have another chance to qualify for the games.
If that scenario does play out, Pitino won't be with the players he's spent much of the summer with, and that's something he says they understand.
"I told them that I was going to give them everything I had to try and accomplish this goal," Pitino said. "But this is it for me. I believe the Puerto Ricans at this point are more than ready and capable of taking over."