Credit: PAO BC
Credit PAO BC

Another tough and peculiar season is ahead of Panathinaikos OPAP Athens, as the club is coming off its worst-ever EuroLeague finish, ending up 16th in the 2020-21 standings. The "Greens" managed to capture both domestic titles, the Championship and the Cup, but the season finale was not enough to sugarcoat a series of bad performances.

Vassilis Kavvadas

Vassilis  Kavvadas
Team: Panathinaikos Athens
Position: C, PF
Age: 29
Height: 205 cm
Weight: 120 kg
Birth place: Athens, Greece

Dimitris Priftis took the reins from Oded Katash, but so far the Greek team has been struggling for the most part of the pre-season. A narrow win against Apollon Patras and a loss in two overtimes to Zenit Saint Petersburg at OAKA, some good flashes in the tournament held in Munich, where PAO captured third place thanks to a 41-point game by Ioannis Papapetrou against Virtus Segafredo Bologna.

Panathinaikos welcomed the Greek media for their annual Media Day. The biggest absence was not Dinos Mitoglou or Mario Hezonja, who moved to Milan and Kazan respectively, but Dimitris Priftis. The Greek tactician received the news that his father passed away on Monday morning and had to forfeit the event in order to attend a funeral on Tuesday (September 14).

Lefteris Bochoridis spoke about the goals of Panathinaikos and pointed out the shift in the team's philosophy.

"We don't want to play like last year. We want to show that we can bring the team where it deserves to be," the Greek international guard initially said during the media day. 

"Every coach has a different style and there are differences compared to last year. Everything starts from defense, we want to press full-court and make life difficult for our opponents," said Bochoridis about his new coach Dimitris Priftis.

On fans returning to OAKA, he noted: "It's very important. Last year, their absence played a big part in our performances. A full OAKA can make a difference. We want to play the best basketball possible for our fans."

Credit PAO BC

Vassilis Kavvadas expressed his joy about joining Panathinaikos and emphasized the "excellent atmosphere" in the team's locker room.

"I am very glad to be here. It was an important move for me. Things are going smoothly, everything's okay. I am very happy and we are waiting for the start of the season," the experienced center initially said.

"I'm not that tall. I know my strengths and what to do on the court. My coaches know how to use me. Having Rick Pitino as our coach with the national team of Greece helped us a lot. He's a terrific guy. Coach Priftis was with me at Aris. He knows my strengths and what I need to improve on. We have a very good relationship. He's a pretty quiet man. He will think many times before saying anything. He's a perfectionist and this will help the team to get better. Our locker room is amazing, all my teammates are awesome. This is very important for every team."

On whether he is ready for the EuroLeague level, Kavvadas commented: "I had a taste of it when I played for Olympiacos. We work hard, we try to get together, build our chemistry on how we move, where we move. We'll get better day by day."

Kavvadas also stressed the importance of the atmosphere at OAKA when it's filled with fans: "Whenever I played here as an opponent, I was watching the videos on the screens and I would get goosebumps. Now I'm on the other side. It is a very beautiful feeling."

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