Olympiacos at Karpenisi

The Champions of both Europe and Greece reside at the capital of Evritania since Tuesday morning. Giorgos Bartzokas that is going to be having all his players at his disposal (something that had not happened in years) spoke about the new season just before the delegation left for Karpenisi…

The Champions of both Europe and Greece reside at the capital of Evritania since Tuesday morning. Giorgos Bartzokas that is going to be having all his players at his disposal (something that had not happened in years) spoke about the new season just before the delegation left for Karpenisi…

About the first days of preseason camp: We are at the exact level a team should be right after vacation. Although it’s not exactly like that for us. Most guys had started training on their own and they are at a very good stage for the time of the season. As usual, you have more time to have the team together on the mountain. Mostly, it’s a chance to “bond” the team off court, because on court, we can also work in Athens. I think we are at a good level and the team seems to be more seamless, since most of the players are the same as last season and this makes us readier than anyone else at this point. We are very optimistic, because I think we have talent and a good team.

About the fact that Olympiacos is the team with the less transfer signings: It’s not exact that only signed two transfer players. Many players from last season did not have contracts extending into this season. I consider those players as transfers as well. That is the players we renewed cooperation with. The administration, the presidents did a terrific job on that part, because their goal and mine had been to keep the largest part of the team intact. I think we did a great job in that part during the summer and now we have to try and incorporate the two new players we have up to now to the team. I think we are at a great advantage. Teams of this level cannot have many players change every season, especially when the players they used to have in the previous season have proved to have both the proper talent and mentality.

About how difficult the new season is going to be: There is a cliché about that. That it’s harder to stay at the top than reaching it, but every endeavor has difficulties. All the more when competition is hard. You know that in Greece competition is always tough, but it’s even tougher in Europe. Olympiacos is expected to be at a high level both due to its brand name but also due to what the club achieved last season. I think we’ll make it because whatever happened until now is exactly what should have happened. That is the best. Now, from now on, we all have to work together and present something attractive.

About whether he has anxiety about success: There are many people asking me, even friends of mine, if I feel stressed or nervous. I would say all to the contrary. Things with Olympiacos are pretty much where they should be. What I mean by that. The support we have here from everyone that is the administration, the staff at the office, my associates, are of a very high level. So, in relation to what I had to deal with during previous seasons, now I have to deal with much less. The thing is to be able and manage the pressure for results during the season, but if you have talent and character as a team, you can always stay calm. I think that Olympiacos has all of that, talent and character, the guys have great mentality and know how to work and the most important thing is that there is chemistry among them. They have a very good relationship with one another, a very important factor at all times in order to achieve goals.

About different elements he would like to incorporate to the team: Of course I’m not here as an administrator, I’m a coach. Of course I want to use new thing in our game, things that represent my philosophy and my beliefs. You all know that the way the team played last season was very right. The results are here to prove it anyway. For sure we will keep a big part of the philosophy the team was based on last season and we will try to include some new things in our games that I believe are going to make us better.

KOSTAS SLOUKAS: We aim at all three titles…

Kostas Sloukas knows very well about preseason camp in Karpenisi: For sure, each camp is painful, but we are ready mentally and physically, since we had quite some rest this summer and each one is ready to give their best to improve and improve the team.

As for the new season: The team is basically the same, which is very important, but also from that point on, we start from the beginning, due to the new coach and the new philosophy. Each one is ready as I said before to give their best to improve the team above all else. Not many things change. The team is almost the same, the thing is that the goal remains also the same, winning all three titles, only now the standards are higher, since we already won two titles last season.

VANGELIS MANTZARIS: Everyone wants to beat the first team

Vangelis Mantzaris was the rookie during last season’s pre-season camp but is now considered one of the vets: First of all, let’s wish a good season to everyone, and let’s hope everyone remains healthy, which is the most important factor in sports. Preseason is going very well for the time being. Fortunately, most of the team remains the same which is very good and positive. We know each other well, Dimitris (i.e. Mavroeidis) and Stratos (i.e. Perperoglou) who are the new guys, the new players of the team, are already getting used to the climate, and they are Greeks, we know them from the National selections, we are friends. From that part on, each one gives 100% at every practice, trying to assimilate the coach’s philosophy and I think that when we get back from Karpenisi we are going to be ready and see the first samples during the friendly games we are going to play.

The international guard also spoke about the new “captain” of the team: The coach may have a different philosophy but it doesn’t seem to be changing a lot in terms of last season’s philosophy, since I said before, why change a winning team. He has his own way; he uses a lot of movement in the game, something that he taught from the first practices. We are somewhere in the middle of where we stood last season in terms of philosophy and now in regard to the new coach’s. I think we are going to find the right chemistry in order to be able and give our best selves.

About the team goals: I think that remaining to the top is as hard as getting there in the first place, since as we all know, everyone wants to beat the first team, the European Champion. We may have some more pressure this season, since there hadn’t been so many expectations last season, especially at the beginning, but we are ready to cope and bring all three titles at Piraeus.

About last season’s success: To tell the truth, we hadn’t really grasped what we had achieved when we actually did it. But then, we saw how much joy we gave to the fans and how much love and gratitude they were returning to us, and it’s the best feeling for an athlete to see the fans and being congratulated on what he has achieved.

It was the end of the '30s when the Olympiacos Basketball team was founded with players form the "Ionidio" School. Great personalities of Greek basketball wore the 'red' shirt, coaches wrote history, victories came and Olympiacos played a leading role inside and outside the Greek borders.

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