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Vassilis Spanoulis interview for OPAP TV

The captain of the Olympiacos basketball team Vassilis Spanoulis, was interviewed for OPAP TV by Vassilis Nomikos and Tassos Magoulas.

The captain of the Olympiacos basketball team Vassilis Spanoulis, was interviewed for OPAP TV by Vassilis Nomikos and Tassos Magoulas.

Here is what he had to say:

About the pressure on the Olympiacos players this season:
I think there is pressure indeed to win each game by 20 points or so. This shouldn’t be the case. You can win by 20 one day and by one point the other day, or by five. That’s basketball. We have to be mentally acute and able to manage situations. We should be able to realize that as well as the fans. Our primary goal is to win.
After Milan but also a little bit earlier against Cedevita, we played the way we were supposed to. Focused and determined to win. We are really much calmer as far as mentality is concerned.

About the upcoming game against Caja Laboral:
Caja has had some bad results. But they won big in Valencia only this weekend.
It’s a very important game for them. Should they lose, they are out. Should we win, we are 99% in the TOP16. Should we lose, we just have to win another game. We have to show our good side on the court, just like we did in Milan. Armani had badly wanted the victory but we functioned with a lot of will and determination, just like last season.

About the Angelopoulos brothers:
The Angelopoulos family has been by our side both financially and morally. They have been watching all our games, even some we have played abroad. They are aware of every situation, they are coming to practices, and that applies not only for the Angelopoulos brothers but also for Mr. Skindilias.

Now that we were going through a difficult time, they were by our side supporting us. That’s why we’ve been trying to give our best for them as well.

For them, winning the Euroleague, has been a reward for all their efforts all those years. I think they are the youngest owners to have won the Euroleague. And it’s also Mr. Konstantinos Angelopoulos that is by our side. He comes to the locker rooms and encourages us. They are all here to support us, even at tough times like that.

About the Dorsey case:
Joey was a very important presence for us last season. Maybe he could not handle this season’s pressure. Maybe he felt he could cope with all these that he thought everyone was expecting from him to do. I think that he said what he said at the spur of the moment. However, you just aren’t allowed to behave this way, and the administration did well handling his case the way they did.

I spoke with him sometimes to make him understand a few things, but it seems that it isn’t in his DNA to handle certain situations. We had pointed out that what we had been expecting from him to do was to be himself and to help with all he could, just like he did last season with his defense and his presence as a whole. He thought he ought to have done much more. He’s a good guy, a good person; he just gets really emotional at times.

On whether he was asked on whether Giorgos Bartzokas should be hires:
We have a very good communication with the administration. I certainly cannot tell them whether to hire a foreign or a Greek coach. However, at some point they told me “we have come to this decision, what do you think” I’m a player, when I’m asked about my opinion I’m going to express it, but that’s as far as it goes.

I had a great co-operation with Mr. Ivkovic, one of the best coaches in the history of European basketball, and I have the same kind of co-operation with Mr. Bartzokas. A young person and a very good coach.

Many people thought that Olympiacos was just going to be an extension of last season’s team; however, this cannot be the case. The new coach is adding new elements and it takes time to assimilate them.

About Stratos Perperoglou joining Olympiacos:
Ο Στράτος ήταν μία πολύ σημαντική προσθήκη για την ομάδα. Είναι παίκτης που παίζει στην Εθνική, ξέρει την ελληνική πραγματικότητα και έχει μάθει να δουλεύει σε μεγάλη ομάδα. Έχει πολύ καλή συνεργασία με τον Παπανικολάου, βοηθάει ο ένας τον άλλο και μπορούν να πάνε πολύ καλά.

Stratos is a very important addition to the team. He’s a National team player; he knows about the Greek reality and has learned to work with big teams. He works very well with Papanikolaou, they help one another and they can do very well.

On whether he will be staying with the team after summer:
At the moment I’m an Olympiacos player. We’ll talk with the team in the summer and we’ll see what will happen.

Olympiacos is my priority and everyone knows that. We’ll talk at a rather friendlier level since our relationship is not just the one of player-administration.

I feel very well being with Olympiacos. After 2,5 years things are much better. We brought the fans to our gym after many years and that’s a really important accomplishment.

About the last play during last season’s Euroleague’s final:
I hadn’t thought about passing the ball, but rather making the best choice. When I saw the defense closing in on me, I saw Giorgos (i.e. Printezis) being alone and passed him the ball. Kirilenko was almost sure I was going to take the shot and had almost fallen over me. This way, he had left Printezis all by himself. He didn’t even have the time to move on to him. I haven’t watched the game since and I think I’m going to watch it after I’m finished with basketball. For now, I only want to look at the next game.

About Panathinaikos and the derbies:
They are making a new start with a new team and a coach that has kind of a different mentality. What happened is deterministic. There is zenith and there is nadir. They are our greatest rival and we all have great respect for them.

We went to OAKA coming from a heavy defeat against Efes. No matter how bad or good Panathinaikos or Olympiacos are, a matchup between them is always a derby. At this time in the season, no one can play a great game for 40 minutes and win by 20. We played well for a certain period of time and won the game.

About everything that Zeljko Obradovic and Dimitris Itoudis have said about him:
I don’t want to deal ever again with whatever happened at the time. Some things that I never wanted to happen happened nonetheless. I don’t wish to say anything more. Everyone has their own opinions and they can understand whatever they want. I respect Mr. Obradovic and Mr. Itoudis for whatever they have achieved in the four years we worked together.

Obradovic is not only missed by Panathinaikos but from Greek Basketball as well. After being with the same team for 13 years and having won all that he has won, it’s only logical that the team misses him.

About leaving the NBA
I found myself in a situation in Houston that wasn’t satisfying to me as an athlete. I had expected something different and that’s why I came back to Greece. That summer, the Spurs had acquired my rights and Parker talked to me, since I’ve known him for years from the National teams, trying to convince me to play with him, but I was very disappointed and determined to stay in Europe.

On whether he’s thinking about what he’ll be doing after he finishes his playing career:
I’d like to remain within the same professional domain. It’s something I know. I’d like to try coaching, but we’ll have to see.

Whom would he like to thank for his career up to now?
First of all, I would like to thank my mother and my brother for always being with me in this route. My wife has been of great support for me in recent years. Family is a very important part of my life and I want to pass the values learned from my family to my children. I started out from Larisa aiming to succeed and I’m a perfectionist. I understand that this can sometimes be a positive thing and others not, but it has helped me a lot in sports.

All of these years, I have had really good friends, like my best man Nikos Zisis and I have been going my way next to them. It’s very important to have people of your own to support you at any difficult moment.