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Vassilis Spanoulis was officially presented by Peristeri as the team's new coach. The EuroLeague legend referred to the plan that the club has elaborated ahead of next season and his motivation to succeed in his first-ever head coaching endeavor.

Vassilis Spanoulis

Vassilis  Spanoulis
Position: SG, PG
Age: 39
Height: 193 cm
Weight: 96 kg
Birth place: Larissa, Greece

Spanoulis, the all-time top scorer in the EuroLeague, ended his playing career with Olympiacos Piraeus last summer after reaching the heights of European basketball as a three-time EuroLeague champion and the only three-time Final Four MVP this century.

He coached the Next Generation Teams organized by Adidas from the top 18-and-under talents in Europe whose club teams are not already playing in one of the four qualifying tournaments that start in late January 2022.

Spanoulis also led the Next Generation Team that participated in the ANGT Finals, which run parallel to the 2022 EuroLeague Final Four in Berlin.

But now, he's taking over a professional team aiming to reach new heights with him at the helm. Spanoulis started the press conference by thanking the club's president Filippos Kotsis, shareholder Andreas Polemis and GM Giorgos Pantazopoulos for entrusting him with the project.

"It's a fresh start in my life," Spanoulis said in the press conference. "It excites me, and I feel good about it. We had nice conversations with the people of Peristeri, and we concluded that this vision suits us very well."

Spanoulis went on to set some realistic goals ahead of next season, which will find Pertisteri competing in the Greek League and the Basketball Champions League.

"The first goal is to fill the gym, and that will only happen if we play attractive basketball, which will bring children and people not only from the municipality of Peristeri but from all over Athens; to have a basketball identity and a basketball culture that everyone will like," he added.

Spanoulis further emphasized that he wants to remain low-key and avoid excessive optimism about the new project he's taken over.

"I am a man who always stays grounded. I want to start in the right way and go step by step. Peristeri is a huge team, has a basketball culture, and excellent academies. Fans are a very important part. We will work very hard, with dedication, discipline, and respect to surpass the limits we will set for ourselves every day."

Asked whether he's come to terms with the fact that his playing days are over, Spanoulis - who retired in the summer of 2021 - confirmed that he has 'killed' the player in him since the day he quit.

"I am very full. I spent some time with my family, and I'm ready," he stressed.

The former Maroussi, Panathinaikos OPAP Athens, and Olympiacos Piraeus player also mentioned the coaches who left a strong impression on him.

"I have definitely taken a lot from many coaches. It's a blessing to have been coached by the two best coaches of European basketball (editor's note: Zeljko Obradovic and Dusan Ivkovic) and some excellent Greek coaches. I know what suits me, and I have my own philosophy. It's all about discipline, hard work, and honesty".

So far, Peristeri have announced three players: forward Leonidas Kaselakis and big men Miro Bilan, Shakur Juston, and Devin Davis.

Regarding the next moves, Spanoulis clarified that he has some more players in mind, adding that the club is waiting for the whole roster to be announced to have a clear picture.

"You can't choose players if you don't have a specific philosophy. The kind of basketball I envision is attractive, modern, with great intensity on the floor. A mix of young and experienced players," he said.

The Greek coach was asked about him being the team's star and how that will affect the squad.

"The star will be the team, not me," he responded.

"My name may be what it is, but all the lights should be on the players and the way they fight on the court."

In any case, Spanoulis is adamant that nothing can scare him in basketball.

"Quite the opposite. The only thing that can scare me is if something happens to my family. All people who have passion can succeed."

For those who expect Peristeri to start adding some banners on the roof of their gym in Athens' western suburbs, Spanoulis has a different view.

"This thought is prohibitive," he emphatically replied. "We're a team with new coaches and players. All these kinds of thoughts can do is put pressure on the team. We must remain humble and fight."

On their part, the president of Peristeri, Filippos Kotsis, and the main shareholder, Andreas Polemis, emphasized Spanoulis' confidence and determination, which were the driving forces behind the agreement.

The two men spoke about what led them to make the specific decision for the team's bench and the page the club wants to turn.

Filippos Kotsis stressed the desire of Spanoulis to instill in the team his basketball principles while referring to the new identity that Peristeri is looking for.

"Vassilis Spanoulis has achieved everything on a team and individual level, but his confidence and optimism that we will achieve our goals are the two things that stood out. We expect Vassilis to instill in the team the mentality of the absolute winner he had as a player," Kotsis said.

"Our goal is to play higher-level basketball. A key challenge for us is to become a team, building or finding a new identity on the court," he added.

For his part, Andreas Polemis referred to what impressed him in Vassilis Spanoulis during the first meeting the two had while revealing what he told him about his new role.

"From the first meeting, we had at his house, what struck us when leaving was the confidence he had as a person that his new start would be successful. He pushed us to make a different kind of effort. Peristeri is a historic team, and we will stand by him for as long as he wants to be with us."

Polemis also revealed the background of the discussions Peristeri management had with Spanoulis, stressing that the team's new coach had the roster in mind.

"Everyone knows he's a workaholic. So we gave him the information he wanted. When I told him, 'Let's give you all you need to be a good coach,' he replied, 'Whoa, I'm not going to be good. I'm going to be the best!'" Polemis concluded. 

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