Dimitris Itoudis: “It’s a game of chess for the coaches and the players”

2022-09-13T12:50:25+00:00 2022-09-13T12:53:16+00:00.

Aris Barkas

13/Sep/22 12:50


With Greece not making it to a FIBA competition semifinal since 2009, the game against Germany is more than crucial for Giannis Antetokounmpo and his crew

By John Rammas/ irammas@eurohoops.net

Berlin, Germany – The Eurobasket quarterfinal game against Germany (13/9, 20.30 CET) has a special significance for Greece. The two-time Eurobasket champions and 2006 silver medalist in the FIBA World Cup have not been in a semifinal in any FIBA tournament since 2009.

With Giannis Antetokounmpo being arguably the best player in the world, this can change, but things against the Eurobasket hosts will not be easy. Can Giannis do it alone? Can the rest of the team step up?

Coach Dimitris Itoudis has the answers and he knows that everyone will have to react during the game: “Most people say “let’s not lose to Giannis, so let’s lose to Larentzakis or Papapetrou”. It’s not something we haven’t come across. This is the situation we are in. We will try different things, but this also has to do with the game itself. It’s a case of chess. Not only from the coaches point of view but also from the players’. They deserve congratulations. We are just trying to help from the outside”.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that Greece will try to reinvent the wheel, being the only unbeaten team left in the tournament.

“We won’t introduce anything completely new”, said Itoudis. “We will try to improve some things. What we presented in the Round of 16 was nothing new in terms of approach. We changed some things, but we also did them in the group. When Giannis went up to the guards, we took them out of rhythm, but that also involves a risk, as someone from our backcourt has to guard the opposing bigs. Sloukas‘ fights with Balvin were amazing and you can’t be prepared for that. But Sloukas, a point guard, played like a 7-footer. I mentioned Sloukas because I’m not used to seeing this kind of thing from him. This means that he wants the team to win and he is ready to sacrifice himself to help the team”.

And that’s why Greece’s approach against Germany will be to disrupt their game and not just aim to stop one player, as Itoudis explained: “They have everything on their team. Obviously, they are playing at home, they have good playmaking, shooters, size, control of the tempo, and ability in one-on-one situations. We have to adapt our defense to them first and foremost. We obviously both like to run in transition. So it’s going to be a hard game. And it’s not only about Wagner and Schroder. They have real chemistry”.