Vassilis Spanoulis was presented as the new coach of Greece NT. The EuroLeague legend referred to his feelings, wishes and dreams regarding the squad and revealed that he has already talked to several players, including Giannis Antetokounmpo.


One day after his official announcement by the Greek Basketball Federation, Vassilis Spanoulis was presented as the new coach of the Greek national team. The 41-year-old EuroLeague legend will keep coaching his current club, Peristeri Athens, whilst being tied to a two-year deal with Greece.

"It's a dream moment. A dream of mine is coming true," Spanoulis said, seating next to the federation's president, Vangelis Liolios, and his former teammates, Nikos Zisis and Dimos Ntikoudis, who now serve as GM and Head of NTs respectively. 

The Larissa-born tactician thanked his predecessors, most notably Dimitris Itoudis, who recently parted ways with the federation in a rather amicable way. 

"With Nikos, we have had magical moments on and off the court," Spanoulis said referring to his best man and friend Zisis, before setting the tone for what he'd like to see Greece do on the court. 

"We must have no fear, be brave and fight. We have to make a strong ensemble that will be family. We left a legacy and now it is our duty to pass it on to the next generation of players and bring them close to the team," he pointed out.

"The family atmosphere is very important for those who are playing now," he continued, and explained that people (and the media) should always look at the bright side, despite the fact that Greece haven't stepped onto the podium in a big tournament since 2009.

"Luck is always needed. Germany had it too, since they made the World Cup semi-finals on the last shot.

We need to transfer positive energy and stop thinking that we've been losing and failing for 14 years. We have to cross out the thought that we don't have players or shooters," Spanoulis said. "I wasn't much of a shooter myself. Yes, I was making the tough ones because I believed," he added.

"But we have to do everything we can to have a good atmosphere in the team. There is no age limit. Whoever is ready to help and whoever suits us will be playing. We need to have good chemistry and we want to have all the players available," he stressed.

Among those who weren't available this past summer, when Greece prepared for the FIBA World Cup, Giannis Antetokounmpo stands out as the most important absentee. 

Spanoulis revealed that he has "already spoken with at least 10-12 players," including the Milwaukee Bucks forward. 

"I've talked to him. He loves the national team very much, and wants to be with us next summer. A big season awaits him. He has an injury and is recovering. He's a global superstar, but also very humble," the retired player said of his former NT teammate. 

The three-time EuroLeague winner emphasized that he has always been close to the national team, long after he retired in 2015, by texting several players.

"We want to build a team that will make the Olympics. No one has a contract with success. But we want everyone to be willing to join the squad, knowing that there's a family out here waiting for them," he mentioned. 

Spanoulis, who wanted to make a last appearance in Greece's jersey at the 2021 Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Canada before an injury put an end to his comeback, was asked about how long it took him to decide on whether he should take over.

"I only thought about it for two seconds," he replied. "I don't feel any pressure. "I don't feel like I have my back against the wall. Most of the players were my teammates or opponents. There is no such thing as failure, the national team is about pride. What has not been done in the right way in the past should make us successful in the future.

I don't think about the wear and tear or what they will say about me," he clarified, and stressed that his team must be ready to win, regardless of how many points are needed. 

"We should be ready to win at 70 and 110 points. No one expected us to score 101 points vs. Team USA [in 2006]," he remembered. "But it happened because of our zeal."


We want to hear from you. Be the first to comment!
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