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Interview with Viktor Sanikidze (Georgian NT) - Sep 4, 2013

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In their first-ever EuroBasket appearance, two years ago in Lithuania, Georgia surprised and finished tournament in 11th position. Two out of four key players from previous European Championships, Zaza Pachulia (210-C-84) and Tornike Shengelia (203-PF-91), will have to miss this year's edition of EuroBasket, but Manuchar Markoishvili (196-SF-86) and Viktor Sanikidze (203-F-86) are back and ready for another good tournament.
Viktor Sanikidze was excellent in Lithuania - averaged 12.0 points and 8.0 rebounds per game! He had great numbers in last summer's qualifications as well - 13.6 points and 9.1 rebounds. talked to him ahead of first game of Georgian national team in Slovenia.

Georgia didn't qualify for European Championships from 1993 to 2009, but this will be second EuroBasket in a row for you and your national team. Also, number of Georgian players in top leagues is increasing. Could you explain rise of Georgian basketball, is there any secret?

There is no secret, there is one big reason for our results and this reason is that 7 guys from our national team have been together for 10 years. We know each other very well, we are like brothers and we have improved a lot as players thanks to our performances in top level leagues.

When have you started with preparations for EuroBasket and where did you spend your preparation period?

We started the preparation in Georgia on July 8, working with our athletic trainer. Later we moved to Slovenia (in Podcetrtek) where we have spent two weeks. Following we have had friendly games in Italy, France, Israel and Lithuania.

Georgia played 10 friendly games, won four and lost six, are you satisfied with team's performance in test games?

We lost 6 games, but one we lost was against Lithuania in overtime, which is great success for our team. We have won against Bosnia, Serbia and twice against Israel. I think we had very good results and we are really confident right now.

What you need to improve in your game in Slovenia?

I think we are going in the right direction as we showed during friendly games, we just need to limit out mistakes and always play the same way.

Unfortunately, Zaza Pachulia and Tornike Shengelia will not play, but you will have Ricky Hickman, could you compare this team with team that played in Lithuania two years ago?

Zaza and Toko are big absences for us and forced us to change our game plan; we play much faster now and it goes to our advantage. We have Ricky; he is great player and he is helping us a lot. We also have two young players, Duda Sanadze and Otar Pkhakadze, that are doing a great job coming from the bench; they are helping us a lot and we need their help.

Your coach in national team is Igor Kokoskov , long-time assistant coach in NBA. What is it like to work with him?

He has been with us for the last 5 years, so we are very comfortable with him. He's a great coach, he is teaching us a lot and we are showing very good results under his guidance. The job he has done with our national team over the past years is going to be appreciated in Georgia forever; we are really thankful to him.

Georgia will play in Group C, how do you rate your rivals - Spain, Slovenia, Croatia, Poland and Czech Republic?

For sure Spain is the best team. Slovenia is playing at home so they have a huge advantage against all teams; Croatia is big team too, but we can compete against everybody. Poland and Czech Republic are both really tough teams and it's not going to be easy to play with them too.

Georgia finished 11th at 2011 EuroBasket, what is your goal for upcoming tournament and which final position would satisfy you?

Regardless of the fact that we are missing two players, we have to reach at least the same result we had at previous EuroBasket; that's our goal.

You will play at European Championship as free agent as you didn't accept new contract offer of Siena. I know that EuroBasket is currently the most important for you, but are you already thinking about new club season? Where would you like to play next season, do you have any favourite league?

All I'm thinking right now is the national team, I am focused at having great performances at the European Championship. I have had some offers and various interest from different teams and after the end of the championship I will decide based on what will be the best for my future and my career.   

Goran Dragic
Heat's Goran Dragic retiring from Slovenia team - 7 days ago
NBA guard Goran Dragic(190-PG-86) has confirmed he is retiring from the Slovenia team that won the European basketball championship. Dragic says on Tuesday, "I achieved what I wanted, the gold medal, and this is the right time to bid farewell." The 31-year-old Dragic led Slovenia with 35 points to beat Serbia 93-85 in the final on Sunday in Istanbul, earning the MVP award. He says Slovenia's qualifying campaign for the 2019 world championship will start in November, and it would be imposs...   [read more]

Goran Dragic All-European Championships Awards 2017 - 9 days ago All-European Championships 1st Team 2017
Goran Dragic
Luka Doncic
Alexey Shved
Bogdan Bogdanovic
Pau Gasol
[read more]

Goran Dragic
2017 EuroBasket: Slovenia top Serbia to celebrate title in Istanbul - 9 days ago
Slovenia - Serbia 93:85 Slovenia are the 2017 EuroBasket champions. They prevailed against Serbia in the dramatic clash to claim the historic title in Istanbul. Goran Dragic (190-PG-86) was pivotal for the champions with stellar performance of 35 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists. He was trumped the MVP. Serbia led throughout the bigger part of the first period. They ensured a 22:20 lead after ten minutes. But Slovenia led by Goran Dragic went firing from all guns in the second term. The...   [read more]

1 | 2 | 3
2017 EuroBasket: Spain capture Bronze medals with win over Russia - 9 days ago  
2017 EuroBasket: Serbia hang on to defeat Russia, enter Final - 11 days ago  
2017 EuroBasket: Doncic, Slovenia roll to 92-72 semifinal win over Spain - 12 days ago  
2017 EuroBasket: Serbia beat Italy, complete semifinal picture - 13 days ago  
2017 EuroBasket: Russia outlast Greece to advance into semifinal - 13 days ago  
2017 EuroBasket: Slovenia enter semifinals, win shootout with Latvia - 14 days ago  
2017 EuroBasket: Spain outlast Germany, enter semifinal stage - 14 days ago  
2017 EuroBasket: Russia cruise past Croatia, into quarterfinal stage - 16 days ago  
2017 EuroBasket: Spain overwhelm Turkey in Istanbul - 16 days ago  
2017 EuroBasket: Serbia prevail against Hungary, reach quarterfinals - 16 days ago  
2017 EuroBasket: Latvia shoot lights out to hammer Montenegro - 16 days ago  
2017 EuroBasket: Konstantinos Sloukas leads Greece past Lithuania - 17 days ago  
2017 EuroBasket: Italy rally past Finland in Round of 16 clash - 17 days ago  
2017 EuroBasket: Germany survive thriller against France - 17 days ago  
2017 EuroBasket: Slovenia ease past Ukraine, enter quarterfinals - 17 days ago  
2017 EuroBasket: Latvia upset Turkey, clinch second place in Group D - 19 days ago  
2017 EuroBasket: Russia edge Great Britain - 19 days ago  
2017 EuroBasket: Boban Marjanovic leads Serbia past Belgium - 19 days ago  
2017 EuroBasket: Spain cruise past Hungary, finish preliminary round unbeaten - 19 days ago  
2017 EuroBasket: Croatia cruise past Czech Republic in Cluj Napoca - 19 days ago  
1 | 2 | 3

Men Women

European Championships Final Standings
 1. Slovenia
 2. Serbia
 3. Spain
 4. Russia
 5. Latvia
 6. Germany
 7. Italy
 8. Greece
 9. Lithuania
 10. Croatia
 11. Finland
 12. France
 13. Montenegro
 14. Turkey
 15. Ukraine
 16. Hungary
 17. Georgia
 18. Poland
 19. Belgium
 20. Czech Rep.
 21. Israel
 22. U.Kingdom
 23. Romania
 24. Iceland
Stats Leaders
Points Per Game
 Alexey SHVED
  Avg: 24.3
 1. Shved, RUS24.3 
 2. Schroeder, GER23.7 
 3. Porzingis, LAT23.6 
 4. Dragic, SLO22.6 
 5. Bogdanovic, CRO22.5 
 6. Bogdanovic, SRB20.4 
 7. Markkanen, FIN19.5 
 8. Shengelia, GEO18.8 
 9. Belinelli, ITA17.9 
 10. Howell, ISR17.8 
Rebounds Per Game
  Avg: 11.8
 1. Valanciunas, LTU11.8 
 2. Olaseni, ENG11.4 
 3. Pachulia, GEO9.2 
 4. Doncic, SLO8.3 
 5. Vucevic, MNT7.7 
 6. Gasol, ESP7.6 
 7. Shengelia, GEO7.6 
 8. Mozgov, RUS7.4 
 9. Moldoveanu, ROM7.3 
 10. Gasol, ESP7.2 
Assists Per Game
  Avg: 7.2
 1. Kalnietis, LTU7.2 
 2. Rodriguez, ESP6.6 
 3. Satoransky, CZE6.4 
 4. Strelnieks, LAT6.3 
 5. Koponen, FIN6.2 
 6. Shved, RUS5.9 
 7. Schroeder, GER5.4 
 8. Jovic, SRB5.4 
 9. Lukashov, UKR5.3 
 10. Bertans, LAT5.3 
Steals Per Game
 Richard HOWELL
  Avg: 3.3
 1. Howell, ISR3.3 
 2. Lukashov, UKR2.0 
 3. Osman, TUR2.0 
 4. Mandache, ROM2.0 
 5. Belinelli, ITA2.0 
 6. Jovic, SRB1.9 
 7. Satoransky, CZE1.8 
 8. Rubio, ESP1.8 
 9. De-Colo, FRA1.8 
 10. Dragic, SLO1.7 
Blocks Per Game
  Avg: 1.9
 1. Porzingis, LAT1.9 
 2. Pustovyi, UKR1.7 
 3. Gasol, ESP1.6 
 4. Gasol, ESP1.4 
 5. Vidmar, SLO1.3 
 6. Randolph, SLO1.3 
 7. Barovic, MNT1.2 
 8. Bender, CRO1.2 
 9. Vucevic, MNT1.2 
 10. Saric, CRO1.0 
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