Nick Calathes: “When you play for Fenerbahce, you have big goals”

2022-10-06T12:55:51+00:00 2022-10-06T12:59:47+00:00.

Giannis Askounis

06/Oct/22 12:55

Evolving into a two-time EuroLeague champion comes next for Fenerbahce Beko newcomer Nick Calathes

By Bugra Uzar/

It has been ten seasons in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague for Nick Calathes. Switching to Fenerbahce Beko will mark his 11th campaign.

Calathes, 33, has been around for a while. Apart from playing in the NBA for the Memphis Grizzlies from 2013 to 2015 and the 2012-13 7DAYS EuroCup season at Lokomotiv Kuban, he has been a regular in Europe’s premier club continental competition for the rest of his professional career. Among other accolades, he ranks first on the all-time list of players with the most assists.

Competing in the EuroLeague Final Four was the case in 2011 and 2012 with Panathinaikos and also in the last two seasons at FC Barcelona. Out of the four appearances in the season-ending tournament, he enjoyed outlasting the other three finalists only once, back in 2011.

“When you get to the Final Four [so many times], you want to win more than one,” he confessed to Eurohoops, “I have been blessed to play with many great teams in my career. I thought we had a good opportunity to win one at Barcelona. I think injuries during a bad time were an issue. There are no excuses. Obviously, you want to win more than one as a player. Hopefully, I can get one before retiring. We’ll see.”

“When you play for Fenerbahce, you have big goals,” he added shifting the center of attention to his new team and possibly finally winning the EuroLeague for a second time, “Right now we are just focused on getting better. That is the big thing.”

The 2022-23 Regular Season starts this week. Fener will be on the road opening the round-robin double-legged 34-game schedule colliding with FC Bayern in Munich tonight, Thursday.

“It is the first time you really can’t tell who is going to make it to the Final Four,” he shared early predictions on the new season, “You usually can tell three teams that are pretty much locked in to make the Final Four. This year, a lot of teams have a very good roster and a great chance. It could be exciting for fans to see the teams and competition.

Dimitris Itoudis was the tactician in his recent venture through the 2022 EuroBasket and the new head coach of Fener as well. Prior experience with the Greek coach dates earlier in his career complementing the early days at Panathinaikos.

“He is a player’s coach. I believe he has a system, what he wants, but also he believes and trusts his players,” he described Itoudis, “As a coach, I hear that every player likes him and likes playing for him. I had him when I was 20 years old. He was the assistant coach then but did a lot. So, I understood what kind of coach and person he is. I am looking forward to playing for him now.”

Revealing Zeljko Obradovic approached him in a recruiting effort was the missed opportunity of becoming a player of Fenerbahce some years ago.

“I had a conversation with Coach when I was in the NBA,” he told Eurohoops regarding the talks with the legendary head coach, former boss of the Istanbul giant, “Other than that, I did not really have the chance to play for Fenerbahce. When I was in the NBA, I had a chance but I couldn’t because I was in the NBA.”

Coming out of Florida, he was selected with the 45th overall selection of the 2009 NBA draft. He ended up in the NBA signing a two-year contract with the Grizzlies four years later. He logged 129 appearances split between the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons, before returning to Europe and launching a second stint at Panathinaikos.