Ioannis Papapetrou: “Of course I want to play in the NBA, but for now there’s only PAO”

2021-09-14T17:27:19+00:00 2021-09-15T22:05:45+00:00.

Stefan Djordjevic

14/Sep/21 17:27

Ioannis Papapetrou talked to Eurohoops about his extension with Panathinaikos, goals, the upcoming season, and more

By Eurohoops team/

Ioannis Papapetrou flirted with the NBA of moving to the NBA this summer, but ultimately he remained a player of Panathinaikos and a captain of the team.

The Greek forward talked about his decision to stay with the Greens and his goals for the upcoming season.

For the moment, the return of fans is what he is looking forward to the most while his satisfaction comes from everyday things.

“I live my life every day. My happiness comes from my daily involvement with basketball. I did not set goals. They came along the way. I fell in love with it every day, getting better and better. Either as a person or as an athlete. I think I have made a path in my career that has proved that I have developed. I will continue to be the best Papapetrou I can be for Panathinaikos. Team success is above all. When you finish 16th it does not matter what you do individually. I come with joy to do some things that I could not do 5-6 years ago, to improve every day in all aspects of the game,” he explained.

Both the player and his club want at least a much better finish than last year:  It is no secret what our primary goal is. We are certainly not satisfied with our European course last year and we want to improve it. Whoever stays out of the playoffs does not matter who finished, ninth or 16th. I can not set a specific goal. What we do know is that the top eight teams go on. This is the primary goal for everyone.”

One of the things that have worried PAO’s fans has been the lack of a traditional playmaker after the departure of Nick Calathes and Papapetrou agrees that his former teammate is hard to replace but they’ve got players eager to prove themselves and with big potential.

“At one point, coach Priftis said and talked about everything. Perry has come this year, he plays very well. Macon can also play in the position. Certainly, no one is Calathes, it costs as much as… half our budget. It is a bit unfair to say at the moment that we do not have a playmaker. If the team had a bigger budget we would get one of the same value. The same goes for Mitoglou. Most players have not played in the Euroleague. We lag behind inexperience, but we excel in the mood. They have a huge opportunity to play for Panathinaikos and show what they are worth, with a huge motivation inside them,” Papapetrou noted.

And about him staying in Europe, despite his NBA ambitions, he explained his mindset on the matter: “Of course I would want to play in the NBA and it’s a dream of mine. I would be lying if I said that it’s not something special. But, now I can’t think of anything else outside Panathinaikos. The day I knew I would stay here, I continue to practice and work with the same joy and the same will to be the best I could be for me and my club”.