Ergin Ataman has ‘championship players’ that ‘enjoy playing in our system’

2022-05-20T13:06:04+00:00 2022-05-20T13:12:14+00:00.

Giannis Askounis

20/May/22 13:06

Previewing the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague championship game, Ergin Ataman and Pablo Laso alongside one player each represented respective finalists

By Johnny Askounis/

From an exciting set of Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four Semifinals Thursday to the championship game pitting defending champion Anadolu Efes against Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid.

The Turkish outfit edged Olympiacos as Vasilije Micic beat the buzzer connecting the deciding shot. Play-caller Ergin Ataman explained the process leading to the shot selection in end-game situations during the pregame press conference held in Stark Arena Press Conference Room Friday.

“I think I have championship players. They enjoy playing in our system. Our system gives them responsibility for playing the running game. This is very productive for our perimeter, our guards,” he mentioned, “Yesterday, Shane [Larkin] was out with an injury for three or four minutes in the fourth quarter. He did not have the same rhythm after that, so I felt [Vasilije] Micic is more ready. Honestly, I didn’t tell him to shoot the ball. I tell my players they should read the game and take responsibility.”

Both Ataman and Madrid’s boss agreed every game is different, including the opposite ends of the EuroLeague Final Four. “In my philosophy, every game has a different story. So, every game is different. I don’t think that games yesterday will affect the game tomorrow,” claimed the Efes head coach, “For sure, both teams will have a different style. Actually, our style will be the same.”

Nigel Williams-Goss was officially ruled out due to the injury early in the Semifinal opposite FC Barcelona and thus opened different scenarios for Ataman to anticipate, according to the Istanbul-born head coach himself. “We will have to adjust both defensively and offensively without Nigel,” confirmed his counterpart Laso.

In turn, French Guerschon Yabusele compared playing in the NBA with the Boston Celtics to his current team. “It is two different types of basketball, the NBA and Europe,” noted the Madrid forward, “But it’s true the winning mentality is still here. Play over there or here, I still play with that energy, bring everything on the court to try and win the game.”

“I am very happy to share a Final experience with my teammates,” took out Micic, the 2022 Alphonso Ford EuroLeague Top Scorer Trophy winner, and season and Final Four MVP last season, “Every Final is a different experience. But at the same time a great privilege.”

Watch the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Championship Game Press Conference:

The Final Four championship game will take place in Stark Arena tomorrow, Saturday (19:00 CET).