Mike James talked F4 format, his future in Monaco, setting the EuroLeague standards

2023-05-21T18:19:45+00:00 2023-05-22T17:38:30+00:00.

Cesare Milanti

21/May/23 18:19


AS Monaco’s superstar touched on several topics in the mixed zone following the game against Barcelona

By Cesare Milanti / info@Eurohoops.net

KAUNAS, Lithuania – Losing the opportunity to fight for the EuroLeague title in his second-ever Final Four, Mike James talked to the media in the mixed zone following the 78-66 win against FC Barcelona in the 3rd place Final.

Asked if he would like to change something for the format of this game particularly, he said that “With the one-game format is tough to figure out what’s the way to go and stuff like that. But it’s still basketball, it’s still enjoyable”.

However, he wouldn’t like a playoff series to replace the Final Four. “That’s a lot more games. It’s a long season already. Hopefully, we go in late June. I’d rather shorter the season. I don’t have the options in front of me, but it’s never bad to come out and play. It’s better than leave on a win than just lose one game and go home”, Mike James said.

This was the first EuroLeague season with Elie Okobo, Jordan Loyd, and himself playing altogether. “We can play. Finding our dynamic out throughout the season, and finding out how we fit together, sacrificing each other’s game. I definitely think we can continue together. It’s a lot of space to improve, a lot of ways we can improve. I’m excited to start next season”, he said.

Asked if he will do so with the same team, he shared his position. “I don’t know. If they want me, I’m here. I have a Monaco jersey”, Mike James added.

Jaron Blossomgame said that the Final Four is now the standard for AS Monaco in the EuroLeague.

“For me, it’s always been there. I don’t play unless I have a chance to go to the Final Four. That’s always my goal, every year. I think honestly next goal should be the winner. We need to try making the next steps. If we can keep improving our game in the summer, see how many guys are coming back. Hopefully, we can keep a lot of people”, Mike James commented on his teammates’ take.

The former Panathinaikos and CSKA Moscow player will stay in the Zalgirio Arena to watch the final between Olympiacos and Real Madrid, but he can’t pick a favorite. 

“I think it’s 50/50. It’s gonna be hard for Madrid to lose if Tavares played like the other day. He dominated, he was everywhere. But Olympiacos is good. They play well, they’ve been here before. They seem really hungry. You almost kinda want Olympiacos to lose because their fans are kinda nauseous, but it’s a good organization over there. They deserve to win the title this year, by the way, they play, how they carried each themselves, and how they fought. I’m excited to watch a big game, hopefully, the right team wins”, he said about Oly.

The young EuroLeague players who are missing

Finally, asked what he thinks about Georgios Bartzokas’ opinion regarding the lack of new domestic players in the EuroLeague, he gave a reasonable answer related to the NBA world.

“That could be true. I’ve never really thought about it like that. NBA is trying to expand its brand, get more European players to come over, and get more audiences involved. I think they are still a lot of tough Europeans in Europe”, he commented on what the Greek head coach said.

While there will be the old veterans like Chacho Rodriguez, Kostas Sloukas, Kostas Papanikolaou, Sergio Llull, and Rudy Fernandez fighting for the EuroLeague, Mike James underlined the role of young Europeans as well.

“You also see Musa, so there you go. Young players play. Europeans tend to play longer in the EuroLeague, so even when they get up an age they still have a role in the EuroLeague. Chacho in Game 5 against Partizan was amazing. I think it’s a little bit of both. Young European players don’t get a chance to go play for a team like Madrid because they still have the older ones still contributing. You gotta just find the balance”, he finally stated.