Ergin Ataman: “Efes is the best team of the new era of EuroLeague”

2022-06-10T14:30:25+00:00 2022-06-10T14:47:04+00:00.

Antigoni Zachari

10/Jun/22 14:30

Anadolu Efes Ergin Ataman discusses his team’s back-to-back EuroLeague championship and how this makes them the best team in the competition’s history

By Eurohoops team /

Anadolu Efes Istanbul head coach Ergin Ataman talks about his championship team, key moments from the Final Four, and looks ahead to next season in his latest interview with EuroLeague Basketball.

“It’s an amazing feeling to make the back-to-back in the EuroLeague,” tells Ataman, who deems this Efes is the best team in the modern era of EuroLeague. “I think that this team is one of the best in EuroLeague history because not only [had there been just] two back-to-back teams [since 2000], but also in the last four years in the EuroLeague. So, same team, same players… for me, this team is the best team of the new era of EuroLeague history”.

“I remember that in the first Final Four in 2019, we had a lot of emotions and we maybe we lost the final because to play there for us is almost a big job, to make a big result, to make a final. But in 2021, we played the Final Four final just to win. And again, it was a big emotion for us, because especially for me, it was my first EuroLeague title. This season I was very relaxed before the Final Four, even before the final because I had this experience of playing in the final and winning the title,” Ataman adds.

Looking back to the intense semifinal against Olympiacos, Ataman was prepared and used the regular-season experience in Piraeus to his team’s favor, as he explains:

“The memory immediately came back to me when we played in Athens. In that overtime, I didn’t have a timeout and we used the last foul, we were up 1 point, we lost the last ball earlier than we should have. And we missed the shots, we missed the layup. Micic. And then at the last second, a buzzer shot from Sloukas, we lost the game. It was in my memory,” he comments.

“At that time, immediately I take the timeout and the first thing, it was a tied game, so we already have the overtime in our hands.  It’s very comfortable when you take the last timeout and you already have the overtime when the time is over. I asked Micic to play a 1-4 pick-and-pop with Moerman, to push them to make a switch with Vezenkov and then read the solutions, because I never like to tell the player to shoot or penetrate, it depends on the defense. He takes a very difficult shot. He took the responsibility and of course, it was an amazing shot”.

Ataman also touched on the last play of the championship game, which granted Efes its back-to-back EuroLeague crown.

“If you don’t make a turnover and you take the shot on the last two seconds, last one second, then basket and it’s also important to take a three-point shot because if you make a two-point shot and you score, they have a timeout for the last 3-4 seconds. But if you take a three-point shot and you score, it’s game over. I think we managed very good this last ball in the final.”