D. Itoudis was not the most popular personality in his homeland on Tuesday night.
Gianni Antetokounmpo’s trump card again did not bring the expected results for the Greeks: the fight for medals ended in the quarterfinals, with a 96-107 loss to Germany.
That the expectations were much higher was evidenced by several thousand disappointed Greek faces in the stands of the Mercedes-Benz Arena. When competing abroad, Odysseus’s team usually does not have such a large support army, but this time, the powerful composition and experienced coach particularly stirred the imagination of the fans.
I’ll say this much: when NBA players don’t come to the “windows”, no one cares. And when there are no EuroLeague players, everyone attacks the EuroLeague. I don’t understand why, what is the difference here? I would like to hear the answer because that is not fair. So please ask FIBA about it.
“There are difficult moments in life when you fall – then you need to stand up. This is just the beginning for this team, a great lesson for them. I will take all criticism for the chosen tactics.
But I think we can be proud of the basketball we played. I understood this from how many Greeks were in the stands today – we have returned basketball to the epicenter of attention in our country. People believe in this team, I am grateful to them for that,” D. Itoudis commented on the failure.
Although G. Antetokounmpo scored 31 points, the 52-year-old specialist admitted that the German’s ideas in defense were effective.
“It was not some accident. For example, in the Round of 16, the Czech Republic also used a great strategy to build walls against Giannis and try to kill his creativity and productivity in every possible way. We lacked our own better defense, which would have created opportunities for counter-attacks”, assessed the Greek captain.
His most famous pupil has still not achieved anything in international basketball – despite G. Antetokounmpo’s impressive statistics, Greece last won a medal in the highest ranking tournament back in 2009, becoming the bronze winner of the European Championship.
It seems that D. Itoudis is worried that the leader would not decide to stop trying again – at least that’s what the coach said when asked about working with one of the best basketball players on the planet.
“It is easy to work with Gianni because he is a very motivated and humble person. Now he needs to catch his breath, calmly evaluate everything, stay healthy, return to NBA and win titles there. And then, when it becomes possible, to rejoin the national team. What could Giannis learn from this championship? I will discuss this personally with him,” said D. Itoudis.
The coach himself, who took part in the big national team tournament for the first time, admits that he received many lessons – some unpleasant ones as well.
“Working in the national team is different from coaching the club. It’s like a sprint where every mistake counts for much more than a long marathon. I’m talking about myself, because I probably didn’t avoid those mistakes.
Everything will have to be thought through, weighed and learned. It is also a new experience for me. Our group still needs to develop the right habits, which are formed only after working together for a long time. Let’s say Spain – the coaching staff there hasn’t changed for a very long time. This is a great example”, taught D. Itoudis.
He was allowed to train his compatriots last year CSKA Moscow (Russia) club from which the Greek moved to Istanbul Fenerbahce last summer. The Turkish champions are also not opposed to working for the national team – at least for now.
The seven-time Euroleague champion is one of the few who have such an opportunity: in addition to him, three more specialists working in the continent’s strongest club tournament appeared in this European Championship.
The Lithuanians were led by the helmsman of Kaunas “Žalgiris”. Kazys Maksvytisfor Turks – Ergin Ataman from Istanbul “Anadalu Efes”. And the Italian strategist of the EuroLeague newcomers Bologna “Virtus”. Sergio Scariolo is preparing the Spaniards for the semi-finals.
Delphi when asked about combining the positions held, D. Itoudis admitted that it is a difficult mission in the current circumstances.
International Basketball Federation (FIBA) no longer invite EuroLeague referees to their championships, and coaches are most hindered by national team selection competitions held during the club season.
“You have touched on a very broad subject that we simply do not have enough time to discuss now. But I’ll say this much: when NBA players don’t come to the “windows,” nobody cares. And when there are no EuroLeague players, everyone attacks the EuroLeague. I don’t understand why, what is the difference here? I would like to hear the answer because that is not fair. So please ask FIBA about it.
Thanks to both CSKA and Fenerbahçe for allowing me to take up this position. But I won’t be able to train the national team during the selection “windows”, it’s impossible. I hope that in the end people from different sides of the barricades will sit down at the same table and find ways out of this situation that would suit both the coaches and the players,” said D. Itoudis.
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