Credit: BasketNews/Begum Unal
Credit: BasketNews/Begum Unal
Credit: BasketNews/Begum Unal
Credit: BasketNews/Begum Unal
Credit: BasketNews/Begum Unal
Credit: BasketNews/Begum Unal
Credit: BasketNews/Begum Unal
Credit: BasketNews/Begum Unal
Credit: BasketNews/Begum Unal
Credit: BasketNews/Begum Unal

On November 5, following Olympiacos Piraeus' home win over AS Monaco (86-65), coach Giorgos Bartzokas provided a comment on his team's latest addition.

Points this season

48%
80,4
Points made: 80,4
Accuracy: 48,4%
Place in standings: 5
Record max: 101
Record min: 67
Best scorer: Aleksandr Vezenkov

"We would have signed Quincy Acy, even if he was point guard," the Greek tactician emphasized.

Well, in hindsight, Bartzokas might just as well have said that the Reds would have picked Acy even if he was going to play only in the Greek League. 

Because that's what really happened. Seven months after the NBA veteran first set his foot in Piraeus, he has only appeared in four EuroLeague regular-season games.

Over a total playing time of roughly 10 minutes, Acy made only one 3-point shot, which ironically came in the only one Olympiacos home loss against Crvena Zvezda.

In the Greek League, the 31-year-old forward has played 14 games, with an average of 10 minutes per contest. That's still three minutes less than guard Michalis Lountzis, the 12th man on the Reds' roster. Somewhat surprisingly, Acy has gone over 50% from distance in domestic competition, boasting an astounding team-best 15/29 shooting beyond the arc.

The forward from Texas came to Olympiacos to bolster their defensive prowess, carrying 337 NBA games with seven different teams (Raptors, Kings, Knicks, Mavericks, Nets, Suns) under his belt.

But more importantly, a very promising EuroLeague rookie season with Maccabi Tel Aviv (2019-20), which was cut short by COVID in March 2020.

Credit Zuma Press – Scanpix

Despite measuring only 2.01 m. Quincy Acy's ability to support the switch-all defense that Giorgos Bartzokas like to play made him even more attractive. 

Being a second-round pick in the 2012 NBA Draft (No. 37), Acy quickly realized that he would need to do whatever it takes for his team to get the win without paying any attention to his individual stats.

Quincy Acy

Quincy  Acy
Quincy  Acy
MIN: 0.63
PTS: 0.19 (33.33%)
REB: 0.13
As: 0
ST: 0
BL: 0
TO: 0.06
GM: 16

With him on the court, Maccabi conceded only 0.79 points per possession when Acy guarded his personal opponent one-on-one; 0.86 points per possession in post-up situations, and 1.0 points when he went to the perimeter.

His 2019-20 campaign generated 4.8 points and 3.5 rebounds per outing over 27 appearances, including 19 starts, in Europe's premier club competition.

But those numbers couldn't be duplicated this season. After having two surgeries on his knee, Acy returned to the Old Continent to join a team on an exceptional run that propelled it to the Final Four after five years.

Upon arrival, Acy had to deal with tendinitis, COVID, and gastroenteritis, before spending the entire Christmas period hospitalized with acute tonsillitis. All hell had broken loose. 

Despite the adversity and Acy's inability to help in EuroLeague games, Olympiacos decided not to give up on the NBA veteran. On the contrary, Bartzokas kept him on the team.

Not only because Olympiacos were rolling again after a one-month break in January, but mainly because Acy is a player who never protested over his playing time and came to terms with his role. 

Regardless of his contribution on the court and whether he's going to play in the upcoming Final Four, the Baylor graduate has been a source of positivity in the locker room. Thomas Walkup, his closest friend on the team, shared with BasketNews the incident that took place during an Olympiacos' practice ahead of Game 5 against Monaco.

"I will never forget Quincy Acy, who obviously has not been playing and turned that practice to the max. It was amazing. When somebody complained about a foul, he said: 'This is exactly how Monaco have been playing. When am I going to get that call in the game?'

It was incredible. After that practice, I knew that we were ready and that we would win."

Obviously, there's far more to it and also countless other episodes that we don't know of. But Acy has found a unique way to get everyone fired up, although his last EuroLeague game was against Panathinaikos on March 17.

"Energy is contagious," Acy tells BasketNews.

"Every human has their own that they can give to somebody else, whether it's saying 'hi', or speaking. That's how the world is - just a transfer of energy.

I might not be able [to transfer the energy] physically on the court, and that's not in my control. But I've been around long enough. This is my eleventh year playing. I'm a veteran, so I know how I can help a team. It's not always the things that show up on the stat sheet; it's the other things on the everyday basis," the American forward maintains. 

Acy admits that despite him not playing in any game of the playoff series, he still had a front-row seat to see everything that was going on.

"A lot of our problems were because they were a lot more physical than us, Acy says. "I knew that once we could get over that hurdle, we would get a better chance to win. I tried to get everybody going and understand that we had to perform and step up our game."

Seated next to his fellow Texan teammate, Thomas Walkup, during Olympiacos' Media Day ahead of the Final Four, Acy answered to BasketNews' questions regarding his current team, his relationship with fans, and the biggest difference between the EuroLeague and the NBA.

Credit Olympiacos BC

Since you're not playing that much, which are the details of Quincy Acy's routine that people don't know of?
I've been integrating myself with the team, the city, and the culture. I've been around a long time. Every year, I've been on a different team, and I've seen a lot of different teammates, cultures, experiences, and cities.

I just try to get close to my teammates and keep us all together, knowing that it's a long season. Everybody has their ups and downs. We're human, and we all have our moments, but I'm making sure everyone stays together, being a leader. 

What's so special about this team?
I think we all like each other. Each person likes the next. That's big, from top to bottom, we all get along really well. It shows on the court. We play unselfishly and cheer for each other. That shows a lot of things. 

Ahead of the Final Four, do you feel like Kostas Papanikolaou, who said that Olympiacos should go out there and enjoy it, or do you adopt a more rigid approach that the team's mission is far from accomplished?
It's definitely not over. You can enjoy nothing but a win. It's a blessing to be able to get to the Final Four, but we got to get there with a serious approach and go there to win. 

Credit Panagiotis Moschandreou/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images

Olympiacos' last Final Four to date was in 2017, with Giannis Sfairopoulos on the bench. Now that you've been in Greece for more than six months, how would you compare him with Giorgos Bartzokas?
Sfairopoulos was definitely more militant, like the military. Very serious all the time, attention to detail, film, practice, everything is serious. Coach Bartzokas is more relaxed. He talks to you and tries to understand you, more of a softer approach. Each style works, you just got to know your players.

Do they ask the same things from you?
Yeah, for sure. They have expectations of you. They expect you to be prepared. Of course, it's different now because I'm not playing, but it's still the same in the locker room. 

When you signed with Olympiacos, you said you asked them many questions because you wanted to make the best decision for yourself. What was the first thing you wanted to know about the organization?
If they understood that I hadn't played basketball since I left Maccabi. That was the first thing. I wanted them to know that I needed to get my rhythm back. They understood that. The team was already good and established.

It was a good chance for me to get in shape and get going. If they need me, I'm here. If not, I came here, and I did what I was supposed to. 

How has that decision worked out for you so far? Do you feel vindicated by your decision?
No, never any vindication. Each season is a new start, a new opportunity. 

How would you describe this season?
It's been a chance for me to grow mentally and spiritually because I had never been in this position before - just not playing all season. It's new for me, but I've embraced it, and I think I'm doing well in my role. 

If any NBA superstar was in front of you, how would you explain to them everything that transpired at the end of Game 5 (court invasion, flares, firecrackers, etc.) and Kevin Durant described as an Apocalypse?
It's just a difference in culture. In America, you never have anything like that. No flares, no loud noise. It's more of a soccer culture compared to American sports like football. It's something that I can't explain to anyone that hasn't seen it. You have to see it for yourself. 

Were you told about what would happen in case Olympiacos won Game 5?
I was in Israel. Any time we played derbies and rival games, it was crazy. Fans were throwing stuff, so I was prepared. Still, Olympiacos have more fans than Maccabi, and Greece is a bigger country. It's crazy. 

Did you get any calls or text messages from people in the United States asking about your safety?
Yes, but nothing crazy. They were just asking if everything was ok. 

You never made the NBA playoffs with Toronto, Sacramento, New York, Dallas, Brooklyn, or Phoenix but have done it twice in your two years in Europe. How different of a beast is the EuroLeague, anyway?
Every game is more important here. In the NBA, if you lose, you kind of get over it. You might have a game the next day, and you can't dwell on it. Here, every win, every loss, and every possession is important. In the NBA, it's more relaxed until it gets to the playoffs, where they really step up the competition.

I think the regular season is the biggest difference between the EuroLeague and the NBA.

Why?
I don't know why. Every possession matters in EuroLeague. Then you got the fouls, the point difference. It's all different. 

How would you describe your experience in Europe?
It was humbling. There's a good talent over here. They compete, the fans are into it, you go to different countries... It's a great experience to have. I can't explain it to anyone who hasn't experienced it.  

Why did you take a year off of everything?
I had two surgeries on my knee, and I was rehabbing, trying to get healthy. I had never had a single surgery in my career, and I've had four in the past three-four years. In the NBA, there were no surgeries, and [I had] elite athleticism. Now I got to learn how to play with a different body. 

Can a Final Four make up for a lost time?
Yeah, maybe. You never know, man. I let the game come to me. 

If Olympiacos and Anadolu Efes were NBA teams, which ones would they be?
It's hard to say. Maybe like the Spurs or Utah, where you have the two shot-blockers and ball movement. Not currently, I'm talking about the style of play. 

What do you think of Efes?
They're a good team, with a lot of talent and well-coached. They've been battle-tested, and they're playing like they've been here before. It's going to be a good battle. 

Coach Ergin Ataman said people will see his raised fists after both Final Four games. Have you been following what he has been saying?
If he wants to talk, let him talk. Everybody has opinions. I don't pay any attention to that. If I did, then I would care about what fans say. You can't care. 

Do you actively engage with fans outside the court?
No, not at all. For what? They come here to watch us play, and then they have opinions. Everybody's not going to like you. That's how you deal with it. 

Was it the same when you were with Maccabi?
It's everywhere! Even in the NBA, people do voice their opinion, especially in certain clubs and cities. It's just like over here in Europe. In Germany, they might not be as boisterous as they are in Greece. It's the different styles of people. 

How do you envision the end of the season?
Hopefully, three trophies. We won the Greek Cup, now we have to get the EuroLeague and then the Greek League. That's my goal, and that's also the team's goal. We just got to make it happen. 

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Olympiacos Piraeus
Anadolu Efes Istanbul
48%
2 Position
Field goals
48%
4 Position
33,08
9 Position
Rebounds
32,47
11 Position
17,31
5 Position
Assists
16,97
7 Position
6,28
11 Position
Steals
6,39
9 Position

Teams leaders

Aleksandr  Vezenkov
13,7 PTS
67% 2P%
38% 3P%
Vasilije  Micic
18,2 PTS
59% 2P%
33% 3P%
Aleksandr  Vezenkov
5,8 REB
4,3 DREB
1,5 OREB
Adrien  Moerman
5,3 REB
4,1 DREB
1,2 OREB
Konstantinos  Sloukas
4,9 As
2,3 TO
25 MIN
Shane  Larkin
5,3 As
2,4 TO
32 MIN