"We are 3-1 so far in the EuroLeague after beating everybody but CSKA Moscow. We had the opportunity to beat three good teams in Zalgiris, Bamberg and Crvena Zvezda, sometimes in the final minute like we did in Germany. We kept our chances to beat CSKA until the final minutes, but lost the opportunity to get what would have been a great win. Anyway, after when Coach Pedoulakis left, the team could have gone down psychologically, but we showed great character in Moscow, played well against CSKA, and won back-to-back games after that. This is very important.
The win in Bamberg was really good for us. First of all, it is very important to win on the road. We played well in the beginning of that game, but not so well after halftime. In the end, we were down by 10 points with three minutes to go, but my teammates did great on defense and offense to get this big win. Nick Calathes had a great game, but you have to give everyone a lot of credit, not just one player. Everyone helped the team that night.
We have a new coach, Xavi Pascual. Some people in Spain say he doesn't speak good English, but it is not true. He speaks very good English! I don't know, maybe he took some lessons or something like that. His English is good and everyone wants to have this kind of coach, experienced and ready. I have known Xavi for many years. I played for FC Barcelona in 2005 for a month, just for the playoffs, when he was Dusko Ivanovic's assistant coach. I have played against Barcelona many times in the last 10 years with him as their coach and we always had a good relationship. The most important thing is that everyone in this team gets along well, Greeks, Americans, everyone. It is good for the team.
I have played outside of Greece for five years, so it is good to be back in Athens! Still, the goal is the same: I have to stay focused, play for the team and practice well like I did in Italy and Spain. When you are in a different country, you don't have many things to do, so you focus on your family, practices and games - and I want to continue doing that here in Athens. I want to keep the same rule - go to practice and then go back home. I don't want anything to distract me from basketball just because I am in Athens. I read I was the second player to be in AEK, Olympiacos and Panathinaikos (after Loukas Mavrokefalidis). I am honored that I had the opportunity to play for them, but now I am with Panathinaikos and fully focused on having a great season.
There is something I am really proud of - this is my 15th consecutive season in the EuroLeague. It shows I have worked well for many years, in practices and games. I had a lot of coaches and teammates who believed in me and I am so happy for this. I really hope to keep playing in the EuroLeague for a few more years! If I am okay, I hope to stay in the league for some more time!
We will face Anadolu Efes this week. I played for Coach Velimir Perasovic last season in Baskonia and we made it to the Final Four. Perasovic and I had a great season together, with great communication between each other. I respect him a lot and he helped me a lot last season. He taught me many things, but especially how to work harder in every game. I think that was the key to our success last season, that we worked hard in every single game. We played better and better during the season and a lot of good things happened. It will be a tough game against Efes, especially after its win against Darussafaka. They only have one win but we know we will have to play well if we want to win. I had some good games against Efes. I remember I was weekly MVP against them some years ago playing just 12 minutes (true, actually). Still, it is all about the team and everybody must play hard to win in Istanbul.
We have a new team, now with a good coach, but some of us have played together for the Greek national team and that always helps. It is a good for us and we are all helping our new players to adjust so that we have the best team chemistry. I think we are all doing a good job and it was shown last week. I have to say I like the new format a lot - with so many games, you don't practice that much! Veteran players, we all prefer to play games! Just joking! Seriously, it is a good change because before this format, you played the first 10 regular season games and as soon as that phase was over, it was worth nothing. From this season, every game matters until the end of the regular season and every win is important. All teams are big and want to be in the playoffs.
Finally, I have to say that being in the EuroLeague commercial was funny. A lot of people joked about it, asking me, "Why did Vassilis dance that Greek song and not you?" So I tell them, "Because he is a better dancer than I am!" I never did anything like this before and felt tired after seven hours in there. You understand how difficult it must be to make a whole movie and how long it takes to prepare", said the 33-year-old international.