We have talked with one of the most talented coach in Europe, Dimitris Itoudis. London journey with Pistons, working with Zjeliko Obradovic and headcoaching career that waiting for him...
Ugur Turker : Hello Coach Itoudis, you were in London last week, invited to watch the NBA game played there? Dimitris Itoudis : Yes, I was invited from Pistons organization ,Joe Dumars specifically and his assistant George David ,to spend with them some days in London and have the opportunity, like this summer, to exchange ideas about basketball.
Ugur Turker : As an expert in Euroleague, how do you see the comparison between the two leagues and could they be combined in any way in the future?
Dimitris Itoudis : First of all I believe that on the organization part the NBA is far ahead from teams in Europe. Of course there are some teams that try to do the best and they have to be the example,but the NBA has match bigger amount of money that invest in order to be all very but very organized. On the other hand ,regarding basketball as a game, there are differences,but Europe positively has been influential to many NBA teams. I want to say that Basketball ,like Joe Dumars use to say is Universal. Now, I do see in the future that the two leagues will have a lot of common things. I do really believe that Euroleague 's future is to have a close league like in NBA. This will be the first step. There many other steps to be done ,like the rules for instance or the dimension of the court and some other really important things. I am sure and I know that Mr Bertomeu and his assosiets are thinking how to make the game more interesting and in the future will see this for sure.
Ugur Turker : How do you think top Euroleague teams would perform in the NBA? Is there a way for them to be competitive if they increase their budget by more revenues?
Dimitris Itoudis : Without any question, the Top Euroleague teams could perform well, but they need to support this with the other things we just mention before,regarding the organization.
Ugur Turker : How was the past summer for you? You were approached to head coach by some organizations but you preferred not to accept the offers ?
Dimitris Itoudis : Yes it is true I had some offers, but after 13 very successful years with Panathinaikos ! the way of the approach was not what I was expecting and I didn't agreed. And I want to be clear, it was not the money the issue, but the vision and the plan. You know when one team approach me, I ask them, what are the expectations and the golds. If we can found the chemistry then we can go together.
Ugur Turker : What are your plans for the present and near future? Dimitris Itoudis : As you probably know I am analyzing Euroleague games officially at Euroleague.net and I am trying to give to people the coach approach to the game. Other than that I am watching basketball ,at different leagues. But also I do have more time to be with my family,that miss me during the season. You know this is my first year I don't work after 22 years continuously. Some times it is good to stay out and watch the things from a different angle.
Ugur Turker : If your plan is to be head coach a Euroleague organization, how would you feel if you had to face up Zjeliko Obradovic as an opponent? What would you tell him before the game?
Dimitris Itoudis : Yes I do plan to be a Head Coach ,but as I said before on a team that have vision and expectations. Now if I am going to face Zeljko ,that will be very strange ,but it will be only during the game, because before and after we will have some good dinners and talks. You know that Zeljko is my Best man and the relation we have is build with very strong bridges.
Ugur Turker : You have won 5 Euroleague championships, what would you say is the secret to go all the way in these championships?
Dimitris Itoudis : Dedication, knowledge, believe, plan,organization,collaboration. All this and one more is hard work with your players, and your staff . The very first thing is that the summer,after you and the management put the targets on the table, to BUILD a winning team. A team that can compete. A team that has players that have golds in their life. That's the first step and it's the most important. After that there are many other details that you have to consider as well.
Ugur Turker : Do you believe that basketball in the court has changed over the last few years with all the changes that happened?
Dimitris Itoudis : Yes and I really hope it will be changed a lot more in order to have better and more exiting games.
Ugur Turker : Can you describe the ideal team for you in terms of the style of basketball and the philosophy it would have?
Dimitris Itoudis : My friend all the teams I was part of and spend hours and hours on the court with, are the ideal teams and ideal players. I was privileged to work with a lot of Top players.
Ugur Turker : Have you followed the Turlkish championship? What do you think is the reason that there have not been any Turkish Club with final four presence in Euroleague in the recent past that Turkish teams havemade so big investements in basketball?
Dimitris Itoudis : Obviously i do follow Turkish league.Turkey last years really invest in Basketball. Has made very good steps ahead. People love basketball like sport. The Turkish league is among the best three leagues in Europe. I know that the mentality of Turkish people is similar with my country and they want immediate results. I don't blame them ,because this kind of pressure they put is that makes you want to be better. Obviously going to Final Four is not an easy think and definitely at final four they don't go only the teams that invest the more money or they are favourites.
Real Madrid regain lead over Darussafaka - 10 minutes ago
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Darussafaka - Real Madrid 81:88 Real Madrid clinched the second victory in the quarterfinal series against Darussafaka. They snatched a tough road win in Turkey tonight. Jaycee Carroll (188-G-83) stepped up with 21 points to pace the visitors. Real got to a quick start. They went on a 26:17 run in the starting period. The Madrid side stayed in charge throughout the second term. Real Madrid established a 46:33 halftime advantage. Darussafaka shifted the gear in the third term. They sank... [read more]
Darussafaka - Real Madrid 81:88
Real Madrid clinched the second victory in the quarterfinal series against Darussafaka. They snatched a tough road win in Turkey tonight. Jaycee Carroll (188-G-83) stepped up with 21 points to pace the visitors. Real got to a quick start. They went on a 26:17 run in the starting period. The Madrid side stayed in charge throughout the second term. Real Madrid established a 46:33 halftime advantage. Darussafaka shifted the gear in the third term. They sank 25 points but Real managed to keep up as they entered the fourth period up by 12 points 70:58. Darussafaka tried hard to erase the deficit in the final term but could not succeed as Real rallied to an important road win. Gustavo Ayon (207-C/F-85, college: San Jose St.) provided 18 points and 9 boards, while Luka Doncic (201-PG-99) added 13 points for the winners. Ante Zizic (210-F/C-97, agency: BeoBasket) replied with 20 points for Darussafaka. Brad Wanamaker (193-G-89, college: Pittsburgh) tossed in 17 points and issued 9 assists in the loss.
Anadolu Efes topple Olympiacos in Istanbul - 2 hours ago
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Anadolu Efes - Olympiacos 64:60 Anadolu Efes gained 2-1 lead in the quarterfinal series versus Olympiacos. The Turkish side outgunned their opponents in Istanbul tonight to inch closer to Final Four. Bryant Dunston (203-C-86) provided 16 points and 9 rebounds to lead the hosts. Olympiacos snatched a narrow 17:14 lead after the opening frame. Anadolu Efes picked up defensive intensity in the second period. They held Olympiacos to just 10 points to take a 33:27 halftime lead. Anadolu Efes... [read more]
Anadolu Efes - Olympiacos 64:60
Anadolu Efes gained 2-1 lead in the quarterfinal series versus Olympiacos. The Turkish side outgunned their opponents in Istanbul tonight to inch closer to Final Four. Bryant Dunston (203-C-86) provided 16 points and 9 rebounds to lead the hosts. Olympiacos snatched a narrow 17:14 lead after the opening frame. Anadolu Efes picked up defensive intensity in the second period. They held Olympiacos to just 10 points to take a 33:27 halftime lead. Anadolu Efes maintained the lead throughout the third term. The home team entered the final quarter up by 14 points 51:37. But Olympiacos refused to give in. Vassilis Spanoulis (193-SG-82, agency: BeoBasket) helped the Greek team pull within one late in regulation. Thomas Heurtel (189-G-89, agency: BeoBasket) and Tyler Honeycutt followed with three free throws for the Istanbul team to ice the victory. Thomas Heurtel delivered 13 points, while Derrick Brown (203-F-87, college: Xavier) added 12 points for the hosts. Vassilis Spanoulis responded with 15 points and 7 assists for Olympiacos. Georgios Printezis (204-PF-85, agency: Octagon Europe), Evangelos Mantzaris (196-G-90) and Erick Green (190-PG-91, college: Virginia Tech) had 8 points each in the loss.
From know on, no accomplishment of this true mastermind of the benches, named David Blatt , will ever qualify as a surprise. Before the Playoffs I had even highlighted that he brings out his best self when he's in an 'outsider' position. Therefore, after the first week of Playoffs, the man to be getting the 'most exciting hero' title for the first two games in my own ceremony wouldn't be my all-time favorite soloist Bogdan Bogdanovic but Princeton's genius, this deeply spiritual sportsman. [read more]
From know on, no accomplishment of this true mastermind of the benches, named David Blatt , will ever qualify as a surprise. Before the Playoffs I had even highlighted that he brings out his best self when he's in an 'outsider' position. Therefore, after the first week of Playoffs, the man to be getting the 'most exciting hero' title for the first two games in my own ceremony wouldn't be my all-time favorite soloist Bogdan Bogdanovic but Princeton's genius, this deeply spiritual sportsman.
Many times during this week I have exclaimed my admiration for the computerized basketball of the Serbian wing and the perfect accuracy of execution on a defense which (unfortunately) we witnessed a lot; On Friday night, however, I understood that for the way I personally view the sport (and so expressing a clearly personal opinion) nothing is more thrilling than the speed with which Blatt plays the match in his mind, alternates his thoughts and adapts to what's happening, being constantly ahead, preparing with precision the next offense, the next defense.. Watching a complex defense, strictly structured for a particular situation in Real's offense, with specific, short-terms goals, to be lining up by switching from zone to man to man defense in the last seconds is something that encloses all the charm of this (not simple in the least but) complex sport. ld School coaching translated in the basis of contemporary basketball. A Chesterfield sofa and a Francis Scott Fitzgerald book inside a spaceship..
Blatt pulled out from the edge of the bench a dusty Luke Harangody (202-PF-88, college: Notre Dame) (leaving aside Moerman, just 13 in total in two matches) who brings in mind the player Doc Rivers used to have in the starting unit in training, next to the Big-3 to avoid getting one of them injured. The Notre Dame graduate has 9.5 points with 100% in three pointers (5/5) in the first two matches, but his altruism and 'play to the max' character has inspired his teammates. Darussafaka has built its entire tactics within the Small ball context (Clyburn/Anderson often at '4', important in rotation even though Slaughter is not ready, Two-guard units); they also use 1-3-1 (sometimes offensively with traping and sometimes not) as their combat vehicle on defense while synchronizing the trap they are setting against Llull's man to man in the main lane (after the first dribble, precisely at the time of the decision in order to have help in the first step and a hand in the face if his goes up for a three pointer without fearing penetration). Against Blatt's 1-3-1 (Clyburn at the 'head' against Llull, Wanamaker -the player combining running and IQ better than anyone else- as the last player in the baseline for the sprints along the base line) Madrid hasn't reacted properly. They haven't found Short Threes from the corners with Carroll, they are unable to combine passing the ball from side to side and Skip passes to force the zone into constant shifting, they don't use back screens to hit on the back of the defense. At the same time, Blatt is laughing, exchanging High Fives with his assistants in the bench.. Darussafaka withstood the offense from the Madrilenos' heavy artillery when Llull scored 5 three pointers during the third period and remained standing with Wilbekin scoring a huge basket at the end, which is telling of how much he has matured and improved this year.
It goes without saying that the Madrilenos are still the front runners of the competition, but they are now aware that things have changed. Objectively speaking, it is difficult for Darussafaka to beat Madrid three times in a row, but the next match is the key. Coach Laso's team shot 8/15 three pointers on Wednesday but only 9/30 on Friday, which (together with the rebounds) determined the context within the four lines. The third game is a great test for Madrid (they have proved that they can win such matches away from home and this is the reason they are still the front runners) against an opponent with more limited quality depth but very well prepared for war on a tactical and psychological level..
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