Βy Bilal Baran Yardimci / email@example.com
Anadolu Efes is missing half their roster, they are warned down and bruised but they will keep fighting having the mentality that led them to back-to-back championship titles.
It was confirmed in the win against Panathinaikos and their former coach Ergin Ataman, as Shane Larkin said to Eurohoops after the game.
As he explained: “At the end of the day, we had been together for five years and now playing against him was a cool moment. But what’s even better is that we didn’t let him come here and win the game, we protected our home court. We sent him back home to Athens winless in the first game against us”.
Of course, Larkin doesn’t want to disrespect his former coach but playing against him and his new team has a special meaning: “It was very nice. Playing against the team he coaches, you know all their sets, you know the upcoming places because we are very familiar. It’s a strange feeling being on the other side, but it also gives an advantage because you know the rhythm, you know what he’s looking for, how he’ll ask for sets. We have very good memories together in the last five years. When he came here, he won championships. He built something special”.
Δείτε αυτή τη δημοσίευση στο Instagram.
On a personal note, he added on his role as the torchbearer from the back-to-back titles era: “I feel good. I will play more minutes for sure. But I feel good, my body feels good. I feel better than I have in recent seasons and, you know, I just need to go out there and do what my team needs. If I need to score more, I try to do that. If I need to get a rebound, if I need to make an assist, if I need to attack more, I’ll try that. I don’t always need to score. “I hope I can continue to do whatever we need to do to win the match”.
And that was evident against Panathinaikos: “We kept trying. We are missing many players due to injuries. Maybe now we have to be on the field with five players who have not played together much before. We knew we had to be aggressive on both ends of the game. Ultimately, our talent ensured the victory”.
Efes is not catching a break, missing so far Will Clyburn, Rodrigue Beaubois, Elijah Bryant, Tibor Pleiss, Derek Willis, and Ante Zizic, while Erkan Yilmaz was injured on the shoulder against Panathinaikos and will be out for three months.
Larkin expects, however, the team to prevail: “We have had injuries since the preparation period. We haven’t even seen what we can do as a full squad yet. Of course, these are not excuses. The EuroLeague season is not going to wait for us to get healthy. We need to deal with this. coach is trying to build a new system. We must be ready to fight with players who can take the field and get better day by day. “As long as we can do this and show our character, we will have a chance to win every match”.
Τhe new MVP
As the leader of the team, Larkin is welcoming his rise: “We were an older, more experienced team the last few years. This year, we are a slightly younger, more athletic team. We need Tyrique to do this in every game. The game against Panathinaikos was great for his development. He showed what he could do against one of the best centers in the EuroLeague. His stats were great. He must continue to develop and be our safety”.
And that includes everyone else also: “Mike Daum, Erten Gazi, Justus Hollatz… They all stood out tonight. We don’t have to make excuses for the injuries of seven players, everyone needs to step up”.