Ergin Ataman hopes Gregg Popovich can ‘take a European coach in the NBA’

2022-05-19T21:07:22+00:00 2022-05-19T21:28:23+00:00.

Giannis Askounis

19/May/22 21:07

Gregg Popovich is in Belgrade following the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four

By Eurohoops Team/

At the buzzer, Vasilije Micic handed Anadolu Efes the opportunity for a back-to-back championship in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague. After edging out Olympiacos, the winning side’s head coach Ergin Ataman continued the well-documented countdown to the title and also noted legendary Gregg Popovich present in Belgrade’s Stark Arena for the Final Four.

“Gregg Popovich being here to watch the games is a great pleasure for me. He is a basketball legend. Maybe after reaching the Final a third consecutive time, he can think to ‘take a European coach in the NBA’,” he suggested jokingly, “He also helped me four years ago when I went to San Antonio. I stayed with the team for ten days. An amazing person not only a great coach.”

“On Saturday night, we will complete the back-to-back,” he confidently replied to a question regarding how his side ranks among the best teams in EuroLeague history, “For me, this team is of course one of the best teams in Europe.”

“Unfortunately, it was a really tough night for us. We competed really hard against the European champions. And we believed that we should have won the game if we made some better decisions,” noted Olympiacos play-caller Giorgos Bartzokas earlier in the postgame press conference, “Some of our players did not have previous experience in this kind of game and this cost us.”

“We paid for the lack of experience,” he furthered, “When you have not played in a EuroLeague Final Four game, it is always tough the first time. But I can’t complain. This is the team we built this year. I think we did a great job, not me but everybody in the organization.”

The Reds are now heading to the third-place game. Belgrade’s Final Four will conclude with the championship game on Saturday night.