Grigonis on Ataman’s criticism of players: “I would never do that, but you have to be prepared”

2024-04-12T18:25:31+00:00 2024-04-12T18:25:31+00:00.

Nikola Miloradovic

12/Apr/24 18:25

Marius Grigonis spoke to Eurohoops about his good season with Panathinaikos, contract extension, but also about coach Ergin Ataman’s criticism of the players

By Vangelis Papadimitriou/

Lithuanian guard Marius Grigonis is enjoying a good season with Panathinaikos. He has been a significant part of the team’s success in reaching second place in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season standings, with the Athens club leading the domestic championship.

After a win against ALBA Berlin, which helped PAO secure second place in the EuroLeague before the playoffs, Grigonis shared his thoughts with Eurohoops. The success is even more significant considering that the Greens made a lot of changes during the summer.

I wouldn’t believe you, even if you asked me at the beginning of the season. It’s really tough to finish second and have this kind of season. You need a good team first and a little bit of luck. We had plenty of luck, but I’m really happy for the guys; they gave a really hard effort every day,” Grigonis said.

Kostas Sloukas is getting better as the season progresses, something he has regularly done over the course of his career. With vast experience in his bag, the Greek point guard is expected to be one of the pivotal players for Panathinaikos in the upcoming playoffs.

He has all the experience, 10 Final Fours… He knows what we need to do, but we have 12 players, and you never know what kind of game we will have. I’m happy that we can find another guy every time. That’s our strength, but obviously, Sloukas, Lessort, Nunn…

Grigonis admits he didn’t expect to extend his contract with Panathinaikos, especially after a disappointing last season.

If you ask the office, they probably wouldn’t believe it either. This is life; you never know what is going to happen tomorrow. My wife enjoys life here, and obviously, me too. I wanted a long-term deal, and I got it. We have a lot of prospects, and there are still many things we need to fix to be a top professional club, but until this day, everything is good.”

Coach Ergin Ataman recently criticized Luca Vildoza for a poor performance, which led to numerous reactions. Grigonis admits that things like that can be challenging.

I would never do that. It’s not my kind of policy and mindset, but you always have to be prepared. Not only physically but mentally. You have to do a lot of mental practice if you want to be consistent at the top level. I’m trying to get Olek into these practices. It’s tough mentally, especially for the young guys, getting attacked by the coach in the media, during practices, but I had Saras’ school, so he helped me a lot on this mental side,” Grigonis concluded.