Ergin Ataman spoke to the Anadolu Agency about the great victory of Panathinaikos against Olympiakos, the addition of Kendrick Nunn, and also Dimitris Giannakopoulos.
Ergin Ataman spoke to the Anadolu agency on the occasion of the great victory of Panathinaikos over Olympiakos in the 4th matchday of the Stoiximan Basket League. The Turkish coach referred to the love of the green world, the addition of Kendrick Nunn, the trust he enjoys from Dimitris Giannakopoulos, but also the goals of the clover.
“Olympiacos have been champions of Greece for the last two years and have not been beaten at home by Panathinaikos in the last seven derbies. They are a very strong team. They were finalists in the EuroLeague last year, losing to Real Madrid in the last seconds. We are new team.
We were not ready for the Super Cup and we were badly beaten. In the EuroLeague game we had the lead most of the time, but lost in overtime. The atmosphere at SEF was very difficult. We played very well in the second half with various tricks. We won fairly. The victory made everyone at Panathinaikos happy. We broke their psychological advantage.
When I came to Panathinaikos, I said that we would put an ‘end’ to the dominance of Olympiakos. This was a very good win. The fans of the team have shown me great love and enthusiasm since day one. Many thank me for coming. They have before them a coach with five European titles and two consecutive Euroleagues. There are high expectations for me. This for me is just a win in a derby. The important thing is to win the championship and for Panathinaikos to return to the old times.
Fans enjoy watching an enthusiastic coach who has achieved great success. There was great excitement when I did my classic move with raised fists in the first derby. Unfortunately, we lost that game. Now, when we returned from Piraeus to Athens, it was 1:00 in the evening. Thousands of fans greeted us with fireworks outside the stadium. They stopped the bus and we couldn’t move for half an hour. They were chanting my name and waiting for me to raise my fists again. I did it. It is very important to interact with the fans.
The excitement had died down in recent years. We brought him back. It was incredible. I had a hard time getting into the field and getting to my office. At 03:00 in the morning I was able to leave. Unbelievable. As a Turkish coach, being welcomed with open arms and adored like that is extremely important in terms of the friendship of the people of the two countries and global integrity. Expectations will grow even higher.
We made a big change in the team. The president has a lot of confidence in me. In every statement he says ‘We have the best coach in Europe and we will succeed with him’. A lot of responsibility falls on me. Due to the last place in the EuroLeague last season it was difficult to sign big names.
We didn’t build a team with an astronomical budget. The only player with Final Four experience is Kostas Sloukas (also Ioannis Papapetrou, but Slukas has won a title). We need a scorer and playmaker, we felt he was the one.
Nunn has had a remarkable NBA career. He had 15 points the first two years. He has played on LeBron James’ team. When this possibility arose, we immediately completed the transfer. Many teams wanted him, especially Olympiacos. When the owner puts something in his mind he always does it. It will strengthen the team. This is a great transfer success. The owner flipped the switch with this big move, as he had done with the transfer of Sluka. I spoke to Nan on the phone three days before the transfer. He had made the decision to come to us.
We had two overtime losses in the EuroLeague. The EuroLeague is a marathon. Apart from the unbeaten Real Madrid, the rest of the teams are very close to each other. We will try to win as many games as we can. The first goal is to reach the playoffs after many years. I believe the team will bond and the players will commit to the system. Then we’ll go for big things“, the Turkish clover technician reported in detail.