Ekpe Udoh is “happy for Kostas Sloukas” after the EuroLeague Final Four

2024-06-13T12:30:59+00:00 2024-06-14T12:10:56+00:00.

Cesare Milanti

13/Jun/24 12:30


The 2017 Final Four MVP gave his flowers to his former teammate and this year’s champion with Panathinaikos

By Cesare Milanti / info@eurohoops.net

MILAN, Italy – Fenerbahce was heading to this year’s Final Four in Berlin dreaming of what happened seven years earlier when the yellow legacy found glory at home, winning the 2016-17 EuroLeague at home, in Istanbul.

The Turkish powerhouse coached by Zeljko Obradovic had at his disposal a stacked roster with stars like Jan Vesely, Gigi Datome, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Pero Antic, Bobby Dixon, and Nikola Kalinic, but also the Final Four MVP Ekpe Udoh and an established Kostas Sloukas.

Catching up with Eurohoops during Game 3 of the LBA Finals in Milan, where he was watching from the sideline as part of NBPA’s One Court Project in Italy, the Nigerian center shared love for his former Greek teammate. “I’m happy for [Kostas] Sloukas, and Panathinaikos getting the win after so long. We’ll see what happens next year”, he said when asked about this year’s outcome in the Uber Arena.

Overcoming his former Turkish team in the Semi-Finals, the Greek playmaker first helped Panathinaikos advance to the final and then overcame the reigning champions of Real Madrid, displaying a dominant performance at 34 years of age.

Despite the effort, Fenerbahce couldn’t get the job done in Berlin, but Ekpe Udoh is satisfied with his former team’s performance throughout the whole season. Also considering who they were going up against. “They had a good season, it was a tough matchup. They had their chance early, but it wasn’t going to be easy”, he first said about the yellow-and-blue powerhouse.

Most importantly, the 2024-25 EuroLeague season will start straight from the beginning with Sarunas Jasikevicius on the team’s bench. “You have to get ready for next year, they had a coaching change throughout the season and you know how tough that is. The coach really did a good job”, he said about the Lithuanian mastermind, who also brought Fenerbahce to the Turkish league title.

In his two seasons in Fenerbahce from 2015 to 2017, he won back-to-back domestic titles in Turkey, adding a Turkish Cup and a Turkish Supercup in 2016. On top of that, as mentioned earlier, he gained his first and only EuroLeague title there.

Now, after concluding his professional career in Japan following a severe injury in 2021 with Virtus Bologna, he’s already used to the other side of the business, being part of the coaching staff in Atlanta.

Considering his past, he knows how important it is for young NBA players to taste some bites of overseas basketball. “You can learn from any game, from any type of basketball. From the youngest ages, all the way. It’s an elite league. It’s a great opportunity thanks to the NBPA, that puts up a great program and allows these young men to come out and check out high-level games”, he said.

Among other players who are participating in this year’s NBPA’s One Court Project, Sandro Mamukelashvili was also present to support his countryman Tornike Shengelia, revealing to Eurohoops where he would like to play if he will return to Europe in the future.

Rewatch Ekpe Udoh’s interview at EurohooPOD:

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