After a convincing victory over Panathinaikos OPAP Athens, AS Monaco's big man Donatas Motiejunas was interviewed by BasketNews, discussing his Turkish Airlines EuroLeague return, playing in front of fans, and Monaco's chances looking forward.

Player of the Game
Danilo  Andjusic
Danilo Andjusic
Points 17
Accuracy 5-8
Rebounds 1
Assists 2

"It feels good," he said about playing in the EuroLeague again. "Especially with the fans back in the arenas. The emotions are way different playing in front of them. I think for the fans, watching basketball in the arenas is a lot different than watching it in empty gyms too."

Motiejunas has been playing with one of the brightest EuroLeague stars, Mike James, for the past few weeks. D-Mo said that James reminded him of an NBA superstar James Harden and mentioned that Monaco's latest acquisitions significantly increased their stocks.

"We only have two players on our squad from last year. Mike James joined us recently, even though everybody knows what caliber of player he is and how he plays. There was nervousness anyway. A lot of unknowns, but the more we play, the better organized and strong we will become."

– It looked like a convincing victory. Were you happy with the quality you displayed on the court tonight?

– This is a question for the coach. From our side, we played as well as we could. We let up at the end, which the coach probably didn't like. But we were up by 20 points and controlled the entire game, basically. I think we followed the coach's game plan well on offense and defense. I believe the result shows it.

– You started the game well but only came back in after halftime. Did your two early fouls impact that, or huge rotation is a part of coach Zvezdan Mitrovic's philosophy?

– Both factors played into it. Early fouls definitely didn't help. The coach has a wide variety of big men to choose from, and everybody played productively. The coach tries to keep everybody fresh because there's no time to rest when you step on the floor.

Donatas Motiejūnas

Donatas  Motiejūnas
Donatas  Motiejūnas
MIN: 16.92
PTS: 10 (62.5%)
REB: 3
As: 3
ST: 0
BL: 1
TO: 2
GM: 1

You need to work hard. I think that is a part of the coach's philosophy. We have 15 players and a very intense schedule ahead of us. I believe it's just the beginning. We won't escape injuries, bad streaks, and the coach will need to adjust the rotation accordingly.

– Mike James has been one of the most talked-about EuroLeague players recently. What does it mean playing with a guy like him?

– It definitely feels like playing with James Harden. I see how easy it is to play alongside him. A creator like him makes everybody else's job easier. It's enough to look him in the eyes and understand what you need to do. The last time I've experienced something like that was with Ty Lawson. But Mike is a leader and makes the game easier. 

– How was the team's potential impacted by the two newest acquisitions - Mike James and Will Thomas?

– These are players that have been in the EuroLeague for many years. They have a whole different level of experience. We have a lot of EuroLeague rookies on our team. Experience gives peace of mind to the coach and the players during critical moments.

– This was your first game in front of the Monaco crowd. How did you feel playing in front of fans?

– Monaco loves basketball as much as we do, you can see it yourself. It's really fun. Our entire team is happy to bring them this victory.

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