We exclusively interviewed Kostas Sloukas, point-guard of Fenerbahce Istanbul, who faced yesterday Olimpia Milano in EuroLeague.
Kostas, recently you were nominated an All-Star decade in EuroLeague . In the last decade two legends of Greek basketball like Diamantidis and Papaloukas, now you. What effect does to continue on this Greek tradition and to be considered one of the best players in a whole decade of EuroLeague?
“It is a great honor for me to be recognized with an award like this, to be awarded as one of the best players in a whole decade of EuroLeague. I feel very lucky. I have always worked hard and I have to thank the teams I have played in my career for everything. Last year, I felt like one of the best player in the league but it’s not enough. I work a lot every day, I still feel very hungry for victories and I want more and more, year after year!”
Greece, so many talents, national and club teams that have made dream entire generations. Do you think Giannis Antetokounmpo can be a symbol of this Greece, and one of the best players ever, if not the best?
“If he continues like this, he will surely be the best greek ever, but today I can’t say. Last year he was the best player in the world with the Bucks, so he’s definitely going in the right direction …”
In China, at the World Cup, Greece certainly did not get the desired result. Why?
“I think we didn’t deserve this result. Talking about me, I’m sorry, because I couldn’t play 100% and the calf problems limited me for the whole competition. The match against Brazil was the main problem, a game that we were up by 17 points. No one would have bet against Greece at the half-time. “
On a personal level, you only need an important victory with your national team.
“Absolutely, that’s what I miss. The last 10 years have not been positive for the national team and it is something that we all feel very sorry for and that we will try to change from the near future.”
Greece has always had a mix between Olympiacos – Panathinaikos and the rest of the players in Europe / USA. What do you think of what happened last season between Olympiacos and Panathinaikos? It has come perhaps to a point never reached …
“I’m living in Istanbul so I couldn’t see a lot directly, but I read so many things about this. Many strange things have happened and this is not good for Greek basketball, a basketball used to be always at the top, both with the national team and with Panathinaikos and Olympiacos. I hope they can find a right solution, a solution that can help all greek basketball… “
Panathinaikos had a coach who took him into the top of Europe, the same coach who made Fenerbahce, into a super power, Željko Obradović. What is Obradović for you?
“The best Coach in Europe. He has won so many titles and I’m so lucky to work with him for many years. I respect him a lot and I have a great confidence in him. He helps me to learn so many things every day, inside and outside the court”.
Obradovic has had a great tradition of point guard in his teams. Djordjevic, Jasikevicius, Diamantidis, Spanoulis … and he strongly wanted your renewal at Fenerbahce. 5 years with this jersey already played and another 3 years with this jersey. What is all this for you? Do you feel connected to those sacred monsters of the game previously named?
“I always try to do what the Coach asks me, to be a game organizer, to put my teammates in the right conditions. I don’t know if I’m connected to these great names … I try to do my best, sometimes I can, sometimes not. “
I tell you 4 names, describe to me what they were for you in your career. Mantoulidis, Aris Thessaloniki, Olympiacos and Fenerbahce.
“Mantoulidis represents my first steps in basketball and also where I was at school. Aris was my first step as a professional player. It was very good, because I came on loan from Olympiacos where I had not played yet. “At Olympiacos I saw how to work in a big club. It allowed me to improve a lot as a player. At Fenerbahçe I learned to be a leader. With the Turkish club, I learned to manage the pressure as a leader in a big club, in clutch moments.”
This Fenerbahce started not so good at the beginning of the season despite the confirmation of many players on the roster and the addition of two super signings like Derrick Williams and Nando De Colo. Do you think he is one of the strongest Fenerbahce of all? Does this team need time playing together?
“There are very good sensations this year for this Fenerbahçe. Although we started with three defeats, we are not worried. The guys works hard in training and I think we need only a little time to make everything run good. There are so many players of quality, with talent and with experience. We also have players who are recovering from problems in Summer. We will certainly improve game after game.”
The game has evolved over the years, perhaps “abusing” more and more of the shooting Threes. But recently we have seen, especially in the World Cup, a return to the origins. All the teams won thanks to a systematic use of Pick and Roll and a fundamental Guard-Center role.
“I think the P&R has always been important, especially for the game of Obradovic. The game obviously evolves, but I think we have to be good at knowing how to do more things. You have to be good at playing Pick and Roll, putting rhythm into the shooters, knowing how to use the post … and I think we have been very good in these last years to understand the game.”
This year is a high-level EuroLega. Do you believe the best ever?
“I think so, all the teams increased the budget and have raised the level of the competition. Now you can find great difficulties in many courts you go to play. This EuroLeague is a marathon where you have to stay focused game after game and stay focused on the final goal. “
The strongest defender you’ve ever faced in your career.
“I don’t know… I’ve faced so many strong players during these years. If I had to tell you two names, I’d say Nick Calathes and Charles Jenkins …”
Last question. Players – Social Networks. What relationship do you have with social media? Lately it seems, it always create a lot of confusion tweets by professional players…
“I don’t like to use social networks very much. I prefer to stay out of the discussions and from every tweet, I am always focused on the game. I read what happened lately, but private life is private life, I don’t like mixing the two!”