Itoudis: NBA teams want that European influence

2019-12-12T14:53:26+00:00 2019-12-12T15:48:14+00:00.

Giannis Askounis

12/Dec/19 14:53

EuroLeague, NBA and Zeljko Obradovic were among topics discussed by Dimitris Itoudis.

By Eurohoops Team/

CSKA Moscow‘s head coach Dimitris Itoudis talked to Arale Weisberg of Walla! Sport ahead of the road challenge against Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv on Thursday. His interview was not focused on the EuroLeague Regular Season Round 13 affair but stretched to Europeans in the NBA and Zeljko Obradovic‘s famous timeout reactions.

“He’s great,” he replied to a question on Luka Doncic, “Charles Barkley said the EuroLeague is bullshit, and the real league is the NBA. I’m not the one to give great quotes, I respect Barkley, and I don’t know him personally, but the EuroLeague is a tough league. Not only professional but mental as well. God bless Luka, he had it already at age 13, and he’s not alone. You see Giannis Antetokounmpo and Bogdan Bogdanovic, and they are also ambassadors of European basketball. Today, NBA teams want that influence, and almost everyone has someone European on the coaching staff, a scout, a statistical analyst.”

However, this is not necessarily a good thing for the EuroLeague, since top talent is leaving for the NBA. As Itoudis said: “It’s frustrating, and it’s even more frustrating when there are two players who were already pretty close with us, and chose to go to China. This league also competes with us, and sometimes with the NBA. For every Nikola Mirotic who returns to Europe, ten Doncices leave. The balance is not good for us.”

On himself potentially working in the NBA, he mentioned, “It’s the best organization in the world of basketball, and I’ve worked with Detroit and Philadelphia in the summer leagues, but right now I’m good where I am. I have a contract with CSKA for next season as well. Then we’ll see.”

Timeouts and Obradovic

Itoudis and Zeljko Obradovic go way back. Almost coached him in 1991 at KK Zagreb, he became his assistant eight years later at Panathinaikos. Asked on the 59-year-old Serbian’s behavior during timeouts, he pointed out that cameras are used excessively in recent years for no real gain.

“I’ve had so many timeouts with Zeljko,” he recalls, “I already know his ways to instill motivation in the players. I don’t want to overdo it, but this whole situation is pretty ridiculous. The camera goes into my conference room, my bathtub, my bedroom, with no filters, and that’s not a good thing.”

“I also had a timeout against ALBA Berlin, where I used not such nice words for my players,” he added, “I understand it’s interesting for the fans, but who benefits from it? The EuroLeague? The kids who are exposed to this language? The players who want to play in the future, for Zeljko, for me or Sarunas Jasikevicius?”

“In the NBA, cameras are also put in timeouts, but the materials are filtered out before they are broadcasted,” Itoudis reckoned, “We need to provide interesting tools, but be more careful about what goes into broadcasting, and prevent those things.”