With the news coming down that John Patrick was fired as head coach at s.Oliver Baskets, heinnews wanted to find out more about the story. One of the items alleged in the reporting of this story is that Würzburg players Ben Jacobson, Jason Boone and John Little had agreed to come back to Würzburg only if Patrick was no longer coach. That seemed strange considering that the trio played together for Patrick at Göttingen and had some major success, including the 2010 Eurocup Challenge title. So, heinnews’s David Hein sought out Alex Saratsis, who is the agent for both Jacobson and Boone to ask about any possible involvement in the firing of Patrick.
heinnews: Hi Alex, there seems to be a lot of confusion about what’s going on with the s.Oliver Baskets. Since you are the agent for both Ben Jacobson and Jason Boone – two players involved in all this – I figured you could offer some insight into the firing of Würzburg coach John Patrick.
Saratsis: I honestly don’t know what the reason was or how they came to that decision. But one thing I can say unequivocally is that Boone and Ben in no way, shape or form were the reason for his ouster. You have to think about it this way, they played for JP (Patrick) for four years. They’ve had great success. Just like any coach, you have your ups and your downs. You see Dwyane Wade yelling at people. You see Tony Parker yelling at (Spurs coach Gregg) Popovich. You have your ups and your downs. But they unequivocally said that if JP was the coach that they were going to come back.
So I don’t know where the rumors have come that they were part of the reason that JP was fired but there’s no way. They have a great relationship with JP. They wouldn’t have continued to play for him in Göttingen and then followed him to Würzburg if they did not believe in him and appreciate him and what he does as a coach. So I don’t know where those rumors have come. But they are definitely not true that Ben and Boone had anything to do with it.
heinnews: As far as what next season looked like, Patrick had a second year on his contract for 2012-13 and both Ben and Boone were free agents. Had there been talks about Ben and Boone coming back for next year to play for Patrick? What was the status on that?
Saratsis: The funny thing is that Ben and Boone had already had conversations, we had been having conversations about them returning to Würzburg singly with JP as head coach. There was no ultimatum or any discussion at any point where they said they would come back if he’s not there because all of the discussions that we had starting since they had made the playoffs were with JP being the coach. So they were agreeing to come back and we were discussing terms and JP was going to be the coach.
For me it’s still a surprise and I really don’t understand how when you have guys who want to come back and are agreeing to come back or discussing to come back with JP as the head coach that they could be the ones that single-handedly causing the demise of JP. That’s not the case at all. All of our discussions were with the understanding that JP was going to be the head coach.
heinnews: How uncommon is this situation?
Saratsis: It’s a little uncommon for a coach who had that much success at so many levels to be let go. I’ve dealt with many teams before where the GM and the coach just don’t see eye to eye. Sometimes it’s a power struggle. Sometimes it’s just a difference in philosophies. For me this is not something that’s out of the ordinary. I think it caught everybody by surprise. But you see things like this happen even in the NBA. You have players that are basically having coaches getting fired. So it’s really not something that’s out of the ordinary. Did it catch people by surprise? Absolutely. But it’s not like something that I’ve never seen before.
heinnews: Any idea how it shakes out?
Saratsis: Honestly no. I know he had a contract for next year. I have no doubt in my mind, JP is a phenomenal coach, that he’s going to land on his feet. Any team he lands with, he’s going to do wonders for them. He’s a great basketball mind. He understands the game, he played it. He gets the most out of all his guys. I think he’ll be successful wherever he ends up. I wouldn’t be surprised if there weren’t a lot of good teams that come knocking on his door. What JP has done with such a small budget, twice, I can only imagine what he could do with the budget of a team like Alba or a team in Italy or Turkey. He’ll be fine.