"The absence of Dimitris Diamantidis makes me sad, he is a legend of european basketball and I was always considering it to be a privilege playing against him. It was a great pleasure and we will definitely miss him from the upcoming fight against Panathinaikos BC. Nevertheless, it will definitely be a very difficult game for us. We were solid in the last clashes, but there is still room for improvement and we have to be ready for this very important clash.
Panathinaikos BC have changed their head coach and are currently in good form, they won two matches last week under one of the best coaches in Europe. There are many great new players and others experienced in the squad, they have signed Giannis Bourousis, who was excellent with Laboral Kutxa the previous season. Still, our head coach (Velimir Perasovic) knows him well from their common spell!
They also signed Chris Singleton, K.C. Rivers and of course they already have Nick Calathes, which is their most important athlete in my opinion, a great guard. It will be very important to stop Nick Calathes. Panathinaikos BC is a Final-Four level club and this game will be a great challenge for us. We have to be tough, because this is their way of playing. The toughest one will leave the field victorious and I hope that Efes Anadolus will do that.
Every game is important for us and we have to fight in order to win it, especially in our stadium. Against Darüşşafaka S.K. we proved that we are actually in good form, but we have to be solid in defense and not allow the opponents control the tempo of the clash. There are many reasons for our bad start in Euroleague, we have many new players and a new head coach. We are trying to play the same tempo as successful Laboral Kutxa the previous season.
We lost the first three matches, but our performance was really bad only against Olympiakos. In the other two we were not so bad and maybe kind of unlucky, we do not have such experience and there are some problems in the final minutes. Still, against Darüşşafaka S.K. we proved that we are getting better and better. We are trying to be strong in defense, successful in attack and especially fast in transition, this will be our major weapon this season.
We are always trying to find solid situations in transition, we are trying to improve many things for the upcoming clashes. Our coach has proved that he can do amazing things in Europe, even without having the biggest budget. He led Laboral Kutxa to the Final-Four, who was expecting something like that? The important thing is learning his philosophy day by day and become better. In cards, we had an excellent team last season and we all believed that.
Still, there was much pressure on our shoulders and this was our biggest mistake. I do not think coach Dusan Ivkovic is the one to be blamed for that, we all hold responsibility. There is no doubt that he is a legendary coach, with amazing experience for his teams. We were trying to follow his instructions, but the results were not so good. I am very sad for not finishing with him the way we really wanted, his important career speaks for himself.
It was a great joy working with him for all the young players, we were learning things from the best. I am grateful to him for offering me so many things during those two seasons. It is still early to speak about the 2016-17 Final-Four and we have learnt our lesson. Last season, the ambition was high and that destroyed us, the important thing is working hard, having faith in our plan and becoming better and better every day through training.
I hope that this will be a very special season for me and a step in order to reach the NBA the next one. I have some targets which I want to achieve, but I still want to win titles before leaving the club. Efes Anadolu is above everything, if my season with them is successful it will be much more easier for me to take the next step", said talented Cedi Osman at his SDNA interview.