By Semih Tuna / email@example.com
Andreas Pistiolis left CSKA and the bench of Dimitris Itoudis for the head coaching position in Galatasaray a few months ago. It was a gamble that paid off. Galatasaray enters this season’s Basketball Champions League as a contender and Pistiolis had the chance to restore the club’s identity and status via the BCL.
It will not be easy and that’s why the Greek coach doesn’t like to speak much about the end goal. However, he shared with Eurohoops his thoughts about the upcoming season and the things that his team must do in order to succeed.
Galatasaray NEF is one of the favorites for the Basketball Champions League crown. Do you think it is not right to set such a high target yet?
“At the moment I can say that this is not our goal, but our dream. It is too early to talk about such a target. I think this season will be the toughest in the history of the Basketball Champions League. The level is definitely up. I think the competition is stronger than the EuroCup. I think it’s arrogant to talk about the championship without seeing how our team plays on the court. Like last season, the goal for me will be to win every game, to create a team that fights. We’ll see what we do during the season. It’s more than a dream than target right now.”
Galatasaray faced EuroLeague champions Anadolu Efes in the Basketball Super League playoffs last season. You took the series to Game 5 but were defeated. Do you feel that you started your head coaching career in the right place?
“I definitely believe so. The conditions here are good in terms of the support we get from people, and the support shown by the fans. At the same time, the situation of the team is very important to me. I believe it is a good step in my career to come here and help Galatasaray move in the right direction, to bring Galatasaray to where it belongs. As I’ve mentioned a lot of times before, the fans are what makes this team great. We will need them in difficult times. We expect high participation from our fans, especially in European matches. I know I can’t play sold-out games in every game, but it’s going to be important for us to experience the atmosphere we saw last year.”
You added many new faces, including Raymar Morgan, Jehyve Floyd Angelo Caloiaro, and Dylan Ennis. How do you comment on your summer moves?
“We examined our options, we discussed them with a lot of people. It’s not easy to build a team after making many transfers. To be honest, I would have liked to have kept more players than last season because it was a successful season. We had to make a lot of changes for various reasons, but I’m very happy with the team we built, everyone was my choice. Most importantly, everyone who comes here is grateful to be here and wanted to be here. We don’t want anyone in this squad to see themselves as bigger than the team. Everyone who comes here is grateful, that’s the most important thing for me.”
Last season you said to Eurohoops that there’s a trend that would never die: “Fighters”. Do you think the newcomers are already part of it?
“I believe that 100%. This was one of my main criteria. My two main criteria when making the transfers were that they were warriors and motivated. Competitive players often move forward together. I think everyone who joins the team meets those criteria.”
Following the departure of Melo Trimble, Dylan Ennis was one of the main additions to the roster. Can you compare those players?
“I don’t want to compare players. Melo is Melo; Dylan is Dylan. Yes, they play more or less the same position. They both have their strengths and weaknesses. Like I said: Dylan wanted to be here, grateful to be here. Melo decided he was at a time in his career in which he didn’t want to be here. He wanted to take the next step in his career, whatever the reason. Now the name in our squad is Dylan. Dylan is a great player, we are very happy to work with him. He is very motivated and brings a lot of different things to the court that we need. As I said; We’ve made a lot of transfers, and we’re a very different team from last year. Signing good players doesn’t mean you’re a good team. It’s always about being a team, and we’re trying to build it.”