By Aris Barkas/ firstname.lastname@example.org
The Greek national team met with the press and while the roster includes for the first time during the World Cup qualification games almost every big name available, the absences of Kostas Koufos and Giannis Antetokounnmpo couldn’t be overlooked.
Coach Thanasis Skourtopoulos admitted: “I have expressed my belief that he would play in September because I really believed that after the talks that we had”.
However that was not the case: “It’s hard, we don’t have to hide it. We are in contact with Giannis, it’s not that he looks the other way when he sees us. Unfortunately, we couldn’t make it happen. The NBA season starts 20 days earlier this year, his team has a new arena, he has to be there and all those things did not help. His wish to play for the national team is a fact. If he could be here, he would play and we would have a full roster. We are in contact with him and we always want to have the best possible roster”.
Skourtopoulos believes that it’s simply a matter of the agreement between FIBA and the NBA: “Since February we are trying our best. However, it’s not an easy procedure with the NBA. We tried and we have Tyler Dorsey with us, we are in contact with Koufos and Giannis is the pinnacle of this situation. It’s a bad situation, but since there’s an agreement between FIBA and the NBA we have to adapt to those conditions. Giannis’ status is changing every year. He is not the player he was as a rookie. He is one of the biggest NBA names”.