Giorgos Bartzokas in favor of the Greek league allowing a 7th non-domestic player

2022-09-30 19:51

Olympiacos' head coach, Giorgos Bartzokas, as well as his peers Ilias Papatheodorou and Makis Giatras weighed in on the Greek league's plans to allow a 7th non-native player in the teams' rosters. 

Credit: Vangelis Stolis
Credit Vangelis Stolis

Over the last days, Greek teams have been examining the possibility of allowing seven non-domestic players in the league. The existing rule, which had been applied until now, forces clubs to include at least six Greek players in their 12-man squads, intended for domestic purposes. 

During the Greek Super Cup presentation held in Rhodes, the league's president, Vangelis Galatsopoulos, admitted that "that was a discussion that we had. We will come to a conclusion after we look at two proposals at Monday's assembly. The proposal is for 6 non-Greek players and another one that can substitute either one of those six in case of injury or if there's a substitution," Galatsopoulos clarified. 

Regardless of what happens, the Greek Players Association has already turned against any potential changes in the number of non-domestic players. The vibes among the Greek league coaches echo that sentiment. 

For instance, Kolossos Rhodes' coach, Ilias Papatheodorou, maintains that "the important part is not whether seven foreign players will be allowed, this doesn't pose a problem. The question is whether the Greek players are given an opportunity."

Papatheodorou, who took over Kolossos in the summer after coaching AEK Athens between 2019 and 2021, thinks that the Greek league should look at any measures which could improve the production process. He gave an example of it. 

"In 2015, Sasha Vezenkov was voted as the most improved player, but he was also the league's top scorer. This year, another Aris player, Omiros Netzipoglou, averaged 5.0 points per game. This indicates a dive in quality. I don't understand why this decision was made a week before the start of the league," Papatheodorou pointed out.

"The coaches should have had a say in that. Good Greek players, like Sloukas and Calathes, are at an advanced age. An overall view of the Greek players must be submitted," the experienced tactician concluded.

Promitheas Patras coach Makis Giatras expressed a strong disagreement with any change being made, "at a time when the teams had already formed their rosters."

Giatras said most teams change rosters during the season, but if an injury occurs, "some teams will already have a player ready to replace the one who got sidelined," he added.

Credit Vangelis Stolis

However, not all Greek tacticians share the same sentiment. Olympiacos Piraeus' bench boss Giorgos Bartzokas thinks that "everyone is looking out for their interests" and stressed that "the meaning of the concept called 'progress of Greek basketball' is up for debate."

The 57-year-old 2022 EuroLeague Coach of the Year went on to say that in case "one or two Greek teams made the Final Four and won the title, it would be a big progress for Greek basketball."

"As Olympiacos, we compete against teams that have 11 and 12 foreign players," Bartzokas noted.

"The issue with native players (being underrepresented) exists everywhere in European basketball, including Spain and Russia, two countries I've coached in. I agree that it's a big discussion and all the coaches have to take a stand. I don't want to say anything more as long as no decision has been made," he concluded.

As the only non-Greek play-caller on the panel, Panathinaikos BC Athens coach Dejan Radonjic didn't want to share an opinion on the matter. 

"I think it's better for other people to talk about it," the Montenegrin said. "I have only been here for a month, I can't speak about it."

Under these circumstances, next Monday can be an interesting day in Greek basketball.


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