If there ever were some kind of basketball vocabulary, Dimitris Itoudis picture should be next to the word 'Victory'. Having won two EuroLeague trophies as a head coach of CSKA Moscow and standing at the helm of the Russian team for the 8th season, Itoudis is the all-time winningest coach of EuroLeague (76,4% winning percentage).

However, it's not the victories that define you, says Itoudis. Just the opposite.

"In the season 2019, that found us actually as EuroLeague champions, the moments that defined our character and the moments that actually arose within the champion mentality, it was our painful losses," said Itoudis, in an interview with BasketNews. "We're in the world of reality that we're not going to be undefeated. I don't think there is a team that is going to stay undefeated that's not healthy."

But that does not mean that Itoudis takes losses easily. CSKA Moscow posted the best preseason result among all EuroLeague teams (7-1) and the only loss came against Zenit, 73-100.

How did the next film session look like? It took one hour just to go through the first quarter of that game.

When these two teams met 5 days later, CSKA won handily 75-63.

"We are going to have losses, we are going to have disappointments," Itoudis continued.  "You might be disappointed by your girlfriend, your wife, your friend, your colleague but the fact is that you have to understand that the problem is at the same time also the solution. If the problem was us, it also means that we are part of the solution. If we are a part of our problem we are the part of the solution."

Philosophical approach, great communication skills, and his victories and failures at the game of basketball are the reasons that many companies ask Itoudis to come to talk at their conferences.

And it is his constant wish to search for new ideas, to learn something new, that is pushing Itoudis forward.

"To be honest, it will be the first time I will say this in public: every time the season finish, I do feel I need to find out or to learn something more. Something is missing, so that's what keeps me always aware. Trying to get information from that interview, from any other meeting I might have, from the scrimmage game we're going to play, from the book I am going to read, or the information I am going to share with some friends from the NBA or from Europe."

"I think that's the meaning of life in general and in sports as well. Trying to evolve, trying to be better every day, don't waste the time you have. It's a precious time, so don't waste it," Itoudis said.

CSKA finished fourth last season, as injury to Nikola Milutinov and a break-up with Mike James derailed their title hopes. Russian team started off strongly and led the league with a 14-3 record halfway through the regular season, and finished second before losing both games in the Final four.

When the summer came, CSKA did not change much. Darrun Hilliard, Michael Eric, and Janis Strelnieks were let go, and in came Alexey Shved, Marius Grigonis and Vladimir Ivlev.

Just before the season started, CSKA also agreed to part ways with James, who was not with the team since the end of March.

Shved, the leading scorer of the EuroLeague with Khimki Moscow region last season, will be one of the guys trying to replace James' scoring ability.

"We had like five or six conversations with Alexey Shved before we came to the final agreement in terms of him signing and coming back to CSKA Moscow where he started his career," Itoudis said. "That's one of the things I am doing during the summer. I cannot imagine recruiting someone without talking and without analyzing. I need to be honest. We need to just tell them the true story of how it is going to look in CSKA and what are the demands and expectations."

"Alexey is very talented, he can score the ball, definitely. He can create for himself and for others. I think it is very important to have such a player on our team. And the fact that Alexey is now mature, let's say, he pretty much did his moves and the circle is coming back. I hope it ends and closes his career whenever he feels that he has to do so with a club that he started."

"I am saying that he is more mature in terms of playing basketball, in terms of being a good teammate, in terms of being a person that has to realize what he has to do better. So, he has to take some steps forward in order to change some things and, of course, we all over here know that he had always been a target, being attacked defensively or offensively. But it was a different story because over there he had to be the A and Z of the team, like playing almost 40 minutes. He is doing everything: scoring, defending or creating. Here it is going to be a little bit different and that doesn't mean that he might not play 40 minutes at one game. I do not know. I am not a magician, I do not know how it is going to be."

"In a long season, that is combined with the local leagues and VTB is one of the most competitive leagues in Europe, you need players to be fresh when the big games are coming. So, if we can play him 20-25 minutes on average that means we gonna keep him or others a little bit more fresh. He is very motivated like all my players."

You can watch or listen to the full interview with Itoudis here:

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