By Stefan Djordjevic/ email@example.com
Olimpia Milano has made a historic success by reaching the EuroLeague Final Four after a long hiatus and one of the key factors for their run has been the experienced roster.
Malcolm Delaney is one of the experienced veteran players that lead the Milano roster and so is Kyle Hines who explained how they approach the big stage and what advice they gave to the younger teammates.
“We have so many experienced guys like Malcolm or Sergio or Gigi that have been to the Final Four. We do our best to talk to the younger guys. I remember 2011 and my first Final Four when I met Mike Batiste and asked him for advice. He said: ‘ Do what you do, do what you’ve done in the past that has gotten you here. Your team is here for a reason so you don’t need to come out and try to be a superhero’,” Hines said and added. “That’s how I’ve been approaching the Final Four and that’s kind of what I’ve been telling the younger guys as well.”
A lesson that Delaney had to add was about what he learned from 2016 Final Four where he competed in the Lokomotiv Kuban jersey.
“The regular season doesn’t matter. When I was in Lokomotiv, we beat CSKA 3 out of 4 times and we went into that series confident that we knew how to beat CSKA. When we came to the Final Four, they played a totally different game. The lesson I learned was – I was prepared for everything but I’m a better leader now, I can voice my opinion to everybody and let them know those games don’t matter,” he answered to Eurohoops’ Antonis Stroggylakis.
Interestingly, Delaney already had to go through one of his former teams in the EuroLeague playoffs, when Milano went against Bayern Munich in a five-game series, and he’ll now face another team whose jersey he wore – and as recent as last season.
The American guard doesn’t shy away from admitting that he does indeed ‘feed’ on the emotions of those clashes and will do the same against Barca, although his team’s performance is what he cares about the most.
“It’s definitely extra motivation, I try to get extra motivation against any team I play against. I did the same thing in the Munich series. Barca… Of course, I don’t want the team I played for to beat me to go to the championship or to win but I’m more focused on our team and being as prepared as possible. It’s more of our team than a personal vendetta against Barcelona.”