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Interview with con Giannis Bourousis

Recent Herbalife Gran Canaria singing speaks with us from Crete, where Greek National Team has his training camp before take part in the World Cup in China.

Hi, Giannis. Before anything else, thank you very much for allowing us to speak with you for a while. Hope you enjoy it, here we go:

MAA After two years playing in China, how is it to be back in Europe with your National Team now and in Spain again in some months?
GB Actually i’m not back after two years for my Natiolan Team, I was always here, during the quilifying games. It was a rather difficult and complicated situation, and I knew, I felt that I had to be there, help many young guys, reach a big goal.
There were many people thinking and even saying that we had no chance, due to the absences excisting, cuased by the “war” between Eurolague and FIBA but the result was the best, and made as all very happy.
As for Spain, I have very good memories, I had grat season, I have friends and it was easy to take the decision to come back in probably the best championship in Europe.

MAA You are just starting your training camp these days, before playing the World Cup. How does the team feel?
GB Everyting is good. We are all excited for the big challenge, we know each other, we are good friends, we love National Team and we have all proved this for many years. It is not a secret that we miss one big success, we came close some times but did’nt have also luck that is always needed, for sure we have also made mistakes, and this time we hope to have a smile at the end.

MAA The Greek Team is almost the same you took part in Eurobasket 2017, when you made QF, but adding this year a NBA MVP (G. Antetokounmpo) Not bad addition, right?
B There is no need to say much about Giannis. This guy works a lot, lives for basketball, is focused to this and as he also has great skills and talent, everyone can see the results. It is great for this group of good players, to have him with us, a great addition and we all can’t wait to be together in the courts and fight for the best result.

MAA You have an interesting balance between veteran players (yourself, Printezis), young ones (Papagiannis, Kostas Antetokounmpo) and some of them in the prime of his age like Calathes, Sloukas… How do you all work? Do you try to help the youngest with any advice from your experience?
B You Know, mostly I try to inspire them about the meaning of National Team, and in some occasions to be the captain in difficult situations. Hopefully I don’t have to do… much, because even the youngest players have played for youth natinoal teams and know the meaning, and love to play for the country. Also, there is a group of very good characters, as for basketball, we have a great coaching stuff that guides us and we only have to think about our job in the lines.

MAA Greece is not a big country in the world, but talking about basketball it is a powerhouse. Is it in the same level than football in greek society or still behind?
GB Basketball in Greece is solid, well organised and this is why a small coyntry as you say have so many successes. I can say that ih the heart of Greek people is the first sport, as we use to say our national sport. Ok, football is number one worilwide, but in Greece basketball is something really big. Even the professionall championship has serious problems, due to the economic crisis in the country, young guys still go to play basketball, develoment is great, fans love it and especially the national teams.

MAA In the first round in the World Cup you will face Brazil, New Zealand and Montenegro, and you will probably fight with Brazil for the first place. What do you think about your rivals?
GB I wont’ say something out of order, but it is realistic that we only have to care about ouselves. We must be ready, we must be focused, we must keep the good atmosphere in the team. We have great players, we have confidence, and we want to go as far as we go, but we know that for do it, we must look at one step every time. Yes, I think we can be first in the group, yes, I believe we can win our opponents, but I know that nothinh will be easy, nothing will be given to us and that we will have to fight every second.

MAA In the last weeks, a lot of NBA players have withdrawn from USA National Team and you could face them in the second round. Why do you think this happen? Do you think they are still the nº1 candidate for the gold medal?
GB I dont’ really Know the reasons and it was a surprise for me because I didn’t think that there would be the invitation without having talked with the players and confirmed their presence. Despite this fact, I still believe that they are number one favorite to win thew gold medal, but I won’t be a… walk in the park for them.

MAA How it is to play with Antetokounmpo, currently one of the best player in the world?
GB As I told you Giannis is a great profesionall and was really excited play for the national Team. Everyone knows his quality, and hanivg a player that can easily stand in all five positions in the court, gives the team that has him many options in the game.

MAA Basketball is changing that much? Guards are now almost 2m, forwards 2,10m , centers shoot 3P and move like guards… How do you see this ‘modern basketball’?
GB Yes, it changes, athetism and sports skills getting more important every day, but results show, that the success comes more easy for teams playing with mind and plan. Basketball is not easy, it is a mind game, it is the sports… chess, so each team have to find the balance between clear mind and sports skills.

MAA We will see you again in Spain from September, this time in Gran Canaria. How important was Katsikaris in you choice? Did you have any offer to play any european competitions?

GB Yes and… yes. I have a great relationship with Fotis since many years, I respect him as a person, we are good friends, but also we know the limits when we work together and this is why we a have a good proffesional cooperation. I Know hif phiolosophy, it is always more easy abroad to have a person that you speak the same language.
As for the second yes, I had offers from teams playing in European competitions, but the plan they explained me in Gran Canaria wea very interesting, they asked me to help build something new, and this made me excited.

Thank you very much for the interview. Good luck in the World Cup (except vs Spain) and all the best for you in Gran Canaria too. We will follow you in ACB next year!

Gabriel Berlin