By Nikos Varlas/ email@example.com
Eurohoops will select 3 players from each team in the Final Four whose performance we consider crucial regarding how their teams will fare in Madrid and will present them in 12 different parts. One by one they will “parade” through and we will focus on their role and the reasons they are important.
Why he’s a catalyst
There are many and clear reasons that make Giorgos Printezis a catalyst in Olympiacos’s game. Together with Vassilis Spanoulis he is the most experienced player, the man that together with the leader of the team sets the mood in the locker room – very important – and also the only player in the club’s history with such a long term in the club and such a connection to the people. Let’s move on to basketball related observations.
He’s by far the best scorer in the reds’ frontline and the only one with top class post play in offense. When he has the right mentality – as he does lately – he can threaten and do a lot of damage outside the 6m.75 line as well. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the healthy and in form Printezis definitely ranks among the 2 or 3 best power forwards in the Euroleague. Also, in the last three years he has evolved into a player of the last 10 minutes that, not only isn’t afraid to take responsibility all the way to the end, but he wants it, he wants to take over the most crucial shots.
The proper word for it? Absolutely pivotal and extremely demanding! Printezis is the only player of Olympiacos who has class in the low post in offense and is able to score, to facilitate for his teammates and thereby to force CSKA’s defense to change their distances and risk open shots along the perimeter.
Exactly what occurred in the game between the two teams in Piraeus and dramatically changed the game’s outcome. The Greek forward got possessions, did some damage, the ‘bear’s defense was forced to readjust and Olympiacos got consecutive three-pointers, taking advantage of the spaces that were opened up by Printezis’s work in the low post.
Because Dimitris Itoudis’s team possesses a variety of bigmen on ‘4’ and ‘5’ and even on ‘3’, and is very strong on rebounds, they should fight hard in defense and rebounds. It won’t be enough for his team for Printezis to simply be productive in offense.
Last minute man
There are some moments that mark athletes’ careers. The shot – a unique kind of floater that he has established – in the final in Turkey in 2012, is a basket-symbol not only for the Greek team’s history, but of the whole modern Euroleague. And this is because it sealed one of the biggest and most inexplicable in terms of basketball upsets.
A team with a much inferior roster and talent came back from a 19-point deficit and ultimately won at the expiration of the game an opponent that was superior. Since then Olympiacos’s forward has gotten several big shots but this particular snapshot will always be the ultimate highlight of his career, a classic moment in the history of the European championship.