Του Νίκου Βαρλά/ firstname.lastname@example.org
The Greek international decided to continue his career with Fenerbahce with a contract 2+1 (in the summer of 2017 there is a release clause for both sides) and for the first time in his career he will be playing abroad. A difficult decision that is characterized by two words, as much for the athlete as for the great Turkish club: Common ambitions and risk.
At the age of 13-14 he had to make a decision: Football of basketball? He was good in both sports and he had calls in the pre-selections for the ranks of the national team in both sports. In football he played as a left winger, in basketball as a guard. Eventually he chose the latter and his decision has already vindicated him.
He learned the basics of the sport at/ from Mantoulidis and from there Olympiacos acquired him in the summer of 2008. As the starting playmaker in the young national teams he won many distinctions. The most important of those were the U18 and U20 European championships in 2008 and 2009, but also the second place in the world cup.
With the reds he won a Cup, two championships and two Euroleague titles. His landmark season, however, was in 2011-12, after his return from Aris where he was loaned out. Now, he is a permanent member of the men’s national team missions.
He grabbed the opportunity and he became an important member of the team – brotherhood that changed the club’s history and led it once again to successes after 15 sterile years, with a European and a domestic championship within a few days. In the three seasons that followed he had the role of the 4th guard, in the second rotation primarily in the ‘2’ position. He had established himself, though, as a high quality player, able to change pace in games, to create and shoot effectively – and after a dribble – with the clutch shot under time pressure as his trademark.
He contributed greatly in the overturns in the finals of 2012 and 2013 and he was the player who changed the course of the first final in Greece, when he was placed in the ‘1’ position with Olympiacos down 13 points.
Because of his commitment to the goal of improving, he changed level in the athletic part, something that was below average, and he automatically changed level as a player as well. Now, he has speed in his legs, he can threaten with drives, he has gotten stronger and he appears impressively improved in creation.
The prediction: Demands that will be judged at the end
Kostas Sloukas (since he wasn’t renewed and his ex-team waited for him to be a free agent on the market so they could submit a nice offer) decided to go to Fenerbahce because Zeljko Obradovic convinced him that he will have more playing time as a point-guard, which was the player’s burning desire. The Serbian coach had an amount available to offer it to Huertas, Jordan Farmar or Rochestie and he asked the club to make a move for the Greek player, with him analyzing that his role will be catalytic and that he himself along with 1-2 other players will “decide” games, especially in the Euroleague.
Sloukas did not choose the safety of the game changer role in Olympiacos and to wait for his turn to come for a leading role. He preferred the risk of being the foreign player with a big contract in a team that wants to see results right now, while the people as well as the media create a much bigger pressure than the one he is subjected to in top Greek teams. It’s obvious that he wants to give it a shot right here and now and that he would rather fail than not try at all in what he believes he’s ready for.
Exactly the same goes for Fenerbahce that expects Sloukas to stake out games and decide their fate. A role in which he hasn’t been tested yet. At least this is what they presented to the player as a plan. The demands of this role are great and surely on some nights he will meet them and on some he won’t. As to whether or not he will be vindicated, we will have the first comprehensive sign at the end of next season.