Luigi Datome: “I hope everybody stays in Fenerbahce next year”

2016-06-16T14:01:41+00:00 2016-06-16T14:49:27+00:00.

Antonis Stroggylakis

16/Jun/16 14:01

He was the MVP of the Turkish Basketball Super League finals, scoring at will and doing everything on court in order to help Fenerbahce win the championship. There’s no doubt that Luigi Datome completed the season in the highest note possible for himself as well for his team.

By Bugra Uzar/

He was the MVP of the Turkish Basketball Super League finals, scoring at will and doing everything on court in order to help Fenerbahce win the championship. There’s no doubt that Luigi Datome completed the season in the highest note that was possible for himself as well for his team.

The forward of Fenerbahce spoke to Eurohoops about his personal and team accomplishments during this year, expressing some certain hopes for the upcoming season. He also talks about the Italian national team and chooses his… favorite nickname, among the many that Fener‘s fans have created for him.

That was quite the successful year for you and Fenerbahce, wasn’t it?

Yes, of course it was. We played the Finals in all three competitions, Euroleague, Turkish League and Turkish Cup. And we won two trophies. For a club that wants to stay at a top level this is important. Always to be there, to compete for a title. We didn’t win everything, but still… it’s important to be there and have the opportunity to celebrate. We won two trophies and we played in the Euroleague Final. That’s the best season ever for every Turkish team. it was great to be part of a historic team and make all these wonderful fans proud of us.

Right after the defeat from CSKA Moscow in the Euroleague Final, you entered the battle for the Turkish playoffs. No time to rest or clear your mind.

It was tough. But especially because it was after Berlin, it showed a lot about the character of the guys. It was a testament of our mental toughness and showed that we really care about all the goals of the team. Turkish league is not Euroleague and everybody knows that. But we had to win it. We knew that we were the best Turkish team and we had to show it on court. It was difficult to go to the playoffs right after the game against CSKA but we did it and we won the whole thing. It showed our quality as a team.

Which were the highlights of this incredible season from your point of view?

Of course the greatest memory was what happened at the last game and us winning the league. But not only. Winning the Turkish Cup was great, the playoffs vs Real Madrid was also unfogettable. The presence of our fans of Berlin. These were all fantastic moments. Personally…. I like to remember the whole journey. The work that was put everyday and by everybody. Not only players but all those who put the piece in the team. You can’t have success without hard work from the whole organization. I am very happy to be part of this.

You were named MVP of the Finals. In Italy you had also won season MVP. Which of these honors do you like the most?

Finals MVP of course! It comes with a trophy for the team right? If you win this MVP award it means your team won the title. We are players and we compete to win. We shouldn’t forget that. Back in Italy I was MVP but didn’t win the championship. It wasn’t really good.  In Euroleague we saw the opponents celebrating. That was a sad memory But the fact that I won MVP of the league Finals, is one of the best moments of my career. Definitely.

You have a contract for next year, but that’s not the case with some of your teammates. Do you have any message for them?

I hope everybody stays in Fenerbahce. It’s been a great year. But more importantly it was a year in which we worked a lot. So after such a season, next year we can start from a high level of knowing each other and the coach.  We can stay together and do better next year. Of course everybody will make his own choice. And no matter what that is, I wish them all the best. I had fun this year and one of the best locker rooms I was ever a part of. Everybody makes their own decisions but I hope that everyone stays. The fans will be happy too if that happens.

“Jesus in Bosphorus”, “Fear the Beard”, “The Italian Artist”. These are just some of the nicknames that Fenerbahce fans use for you. Which one do you prefer?

(Laughs) These are all funny. These nicknames show love and it’s good for me because it means that I play good basketball. I really feel the fans’ love. The nickname about “Jesus in Bosphorus” is funny. I like it a lot, it makes me laugh. But I let the fans choose what they like best. I stick with “Gigi”.

Next stop for you is the Italian national team’s efforts to qualify to the Olympic Games.

Indeed. I’ll join the team on Monday. We have a very important goal: To reach the Olympic Games. I hope that I will add another great memory for me.  I will go to a little vacation first to clean up my brain and then we start. Ettore Messina, our new coach is one of the greatest in Europe. I hope that he will help us to win our goals.