Nick Calathes admitted that Sarunas Jasikevicius' system in Barcelona is constrictive and thinks players need more freedom on the court than what the Lithuanian coach gives.

Credit: Aitor Arrizabalaga/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images
Credit Aitor Arrizabalaga/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images

The Nick Calathes story occupied the minds of European basketball fans last summer. With FC Barcelona head coach Sarunas Jasikevicius publicly meeting with Tomas Satoransky months before the season ended, the relationship between the two sides was deemed to ultimately fail.

Nick Calathes

Nick  Calathes
Team: Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul
Position: PG
Age: 33
Height: 198 cm
Weight: 97 kg
Birth place: United States of America

Calathes transferred to Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul to mark a new beginning in his career. Talking about the move with Turkish sports television S Sport, the guard admitted that the situation was one of a kind.

"It was something that I had never been through in my career. It was difficult because I didn't know what was happening really," the player said. "At the end of the day, I'm happy that everything got worked out and that I ended up here. I think it was a great decision for me to grow and come here, and I think it will be a great fit."

The Calathes story was not centered only around Barca. Panathinaikos Athens tried to get the experienced playmaker to come back to Greece multiple times, even increasing their offer on several occasions but to no avail.

When he was asked about the main reason he chose Fenerbahce over Panathinaikos, Calathes had a clear answer - roster strength.

"For me, it was to go to a team that had a chance to win. I'm older and I want to have a chance to win the EuroLeague again. Looking at the roster that Fenerbahce has, it was the best place and the best fit for me," the guard explained.

Following up on the topic, the interviewer mentioned the URBONUS podcast where Errick McCollum talked about players having more freedom outside of Jasikevicius' system in Barcelona.

Calathes did not hold back.

"As a player, you want to have some freedom. Especially, I'm not 20 years old, I know how to play," Calathes told. "I think over there it was more of a system, Saras controlled it more. I think here coach Itoudis gives players freedom, gives players things to do on the court but he also has a lot of confidence in you, he believes in you, he lets you control the game."

"Obviously, there are some times when he will stop the game and do the things that he wants to do but he understands we are a lot of veteran players and what we can do," the guard continued. "As a player, you get the best out of a player when you let him play."

At the end of the season in Barcelona, multiple reports stated that the relationship between Saras and Calathes had deteriorated at that point with both parties leaving no chance for another outcome than the player leaving the club in the summer even though he had a year remaining in his contract.

"I think as a point guard, as a playmaker you have a feel for what's going on during the game, maybe you have a better feel than what the coach sees on the sideline," Calathes explained his view. "If you give the player the freedom to make these decisions, I think that at the end of a long season you'll get the best out of the player, and I think you'll get the best out of the team."

"As a player, that's what you want. I'm not saying that Saras controlled everything but you want to play free. Obviously, you need to be controlled in some moments but it's give-and-take. Sometimes you have to let your players play the game," he concluded.

Probably the biggest criticism Calathes usually faces is his lack of a consistent shot from beyond the arc. Asked whether he thinks it plays a part on how teams and fans look at him, the guard was open.

"I've always been a player that does a lot of things on the court if it has to do with rebounding, assists, defense. Obviously, I'm not the greatest shooter of all time. I don't think I would be here if I was a 50% three-point shooter. I would be in the NBA," he said.

"I don't think that I'm a bad shooter. I think it will be better this year than it was the last year, and we will see," Calathes told. "I just have a feeling that it will come. I've been working a lot on my shot this summer, and for me, I think this will be a good year for shooting."

Fenerbahce start their EuroLeague season on Thursday against FC Bayern Munich, while Barca will begin the year with a clash against Olympiacos Piraeus on Friday.

Show comments
Thank you for reporting a comment

Add comment

We have the right to remove comments which are offensive, contains abusive language, or violates other rules of the website