Kontos: “Ataman fits perfectly in philosophy with Panathinaikos – No preference for an opponent”


Panathinaikos AKTOR closed its Regular Season in an impressive way Euroleagueafter going 5/5 in the last matches and finishing in second place, the highest it has achieved with its new format organization.

The Basketball and Communication Director of the “greens”, Dimitris Kontoswas hosted on EOK WebRadio and talked about the team’s progress so far, while referring to the influence of Ergin Ataman, Kostas Sloukasbut also on whether he has any preference for an opponent at playoffs.

In detail what he said:

For… the new era of Panathinaikos: “The only positive thing about last year was that it gave us the right to work early and prepare for this year. Having set the goals early on, having thought of a better plan, we all want to follow. The disadvantage of failure became an advantage for the preparation of the new season. This was perhaps the only element we had in our favor, beyond the plan that was delimited by the top of the “pyramid” of Panathinaikos. We all knew where we wanted to go, Dimitris Giannakopoulos knew where he wanted to lead the team, so we knew what we had to do. To achieve the first piece so quickly is something that causes a very nice feeling, in the world that primarily interests us and for all of us who have been living it since the first day that this project started”.

For the “hot” summer that passed and the effort being made in the team this year: “There are many scenarios. And last year a lot was heard, but not all corresponded to reality. When Panathinaikos “wakes up” and prepares to return, automatically the scenarios multiply and it makes sense. When the world is waiting with such anxiety. Dimitris Giannakopoulos had given everyone the rhythm and the vision and having this… madness to succeed and reach high, automatically one cannot be complacent. The goals are always high. He is a man who deals with everything and when the top of the “pyramid” deals with everything, then every detail becomes an effort to be perfect. The most important thing is that we are all on the same wavelength.

Being on the same “page” with everyone and being able to withstand shocks is the first and last thing for the locker room. We started with a failure in the Super Cup, with a very bad performance which we were prepared for, knowing that with players you don’t even know their names you can’t present anything at the start. Also, two of the first three home games in the Euroleague were lost in overtime. There were shocks that were purely emotional from everyone, but there was always unity, we didn’t let that emotion get us down.”

For the “key” to the success of the 2nd place in the regular season of the Euroleague: “The ‘key’ is the characters to a very large extent and then the arrival of the players and the coach. Ataman did not give excuses to anyone from the first practice. He defined goals exactly as he had them in mind. The whole connection of the world with the team was also a “key”. In the match in Berlin that “turned the tide”, we had 2.5 thousand people, then there were other away games where people were even outside the stadium, in OAKA not a pin fell. All this created a great expectation that began to pay off little by little. In the last part of the season, Panathinaikos showed great character after the defeat in SEF where we knew that with 5/5 we would be 2nd. It certainly happened sooner than we all expected. The work is not finished, but the first “cushion” of the season has a very positive sign.”

For the European target at the start of the season: “We started and said we should enter the play-offs and have the top six if possible. “Eating comes appetite”, however, seeing that the team’s strengths can go much higher. Beyond Dimitris Giannakopoulos who gives the pace and the mark of how the whole organization will move, then there is Ergin Ataman who… does not know what it is like not to win, does not accept defeat like a human being and then the players who have the ego, the ambition and motivation. All the “air” that OAKA exudes created a very beautiful feeling. We waited and wait with great impatience for Thursday and Friday to come for Panathinaikos to play the European game. Even in games in Greece, Panathinaikos had 11 thousand people”.

On whether they have any… preference for the play-offs: “No preference at all. Around the team, beyond Ataman, is Becirovic, a kid who is a champion as a person. The last thing you can tell him is if he has a preference for something. It’s not one in a million.”

For Kostas Sloukas: “We all knew him from Olympiakos and from Fener and from Mantoulidis and Aris. His course proves everything. The way he takes care of himself, the way he approaches the game, his mental readiness for the games, the courage to get in front of the big matches, this thing was missing from Panathinaikos and Kostas brought it to the team”.

For Ergin Ataman: “The coach will say whatever he has to say in the locker room, not only in public. He has his own temperament and his own way. All this character and the way he lives fits very well with the mentality of Panathinaikos. This energy, the… madness for victory, the way he tries to “wake up” the players. A long time ago when I was talking with a friend of mine and I said that Panathinaikos is like a rock band, not a ballad, it needs intensity. That’s how the body is. Ataman has this thing in his blood, it fits perfectly as a philosophy with Panathinaikos”.

Source: Sport Fm

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