With the second half of the Top 16 ready to start, Georgios Printezis of Unicaja is the first to recognize that his debut season outside Greece has been full of ups and downs. The biggest down, no doubt, was a freak injury early in the season that saw Printezis taken off-court on a stretcher. Fortunately, he was back in a month after rehabbing the shoulder he landed on while dunking, and since then has proved to be a major part of his Unicaja's efforts to rebuild its season. That includes the chance now to challenge for a playoff spot from Group G starting with a road game in Week 4 at Zalgiris. As Printezis says in his Fan Mail answers, there is one sure way for Unicaja's season to stay on the upswing now: to win. "In the Euroleague, we have it more difficult after losing at home to Prokom by 20 points," Printezis said in one Fan Mail answer. "Our chances are not only on us now: Prokom has to lose one more game than us, probably. The way I think about it is that we have three games in front of us to win, and if we can do that, for sure we will reach the playoffs."
As an Olympiacos fan, I am sad not to have you on our roster, but as a Greek basketball fan I am happy when Greek players have a bold presence on European clubs, like you and Nikos Zisis. What are the differences and similarities in the Greek and the Spanish leagues? I wish you a healthy career and to achieve all your targets (except this year's Euroleague title, which I would like to go to my team),
Xenofon - Athens
"I think the Greek League is getting better year by year, but in the Spanish League they are all very tough games and we have to fight hard in every one. For our team, we had to fight like that since the beginning of the season, and the good thing is that each game of that kind improves you. In Greece, each year there are two or three strong games and the others not so strong. One reason I think the Spanish League is so strong is there are more cities here with the size to support basketball and the marketing to get plenty of fans involved. That's why I think it's so strong here."
Hello George. Unicaja has many ups and downs this season. What is being done to save the Top 16?
Alex Mueller - Germany
"It's true that we've been up and down a lot this year. We didn't start well, and are still trying to recover, in the Spanish League. We are getting better and I think we'll feel better as we go for our target of making the playoffs. In the Euroleague, we have it more difficult after losing at home to Prokom by 20 points. Our chances are not only on us now. Prokom has to lose one more game than us, probably. The way I think about it is that we have three games in front of us to win, and if we can do that, for sure we will reach the playoffs."
Giorgo, many of us were worried after seeing your injury at the beginning of the season. Are you 100 percent OK now? What affect did it have on you? Have a great season,
Kostas - Greece
"It was a difficult injury. For sure, it was difficult for me that for many days I didn't know if I was going to have surgery or continue rehabbing. Finally, rehab was decided, and I followed the treatment for one month. The team helped me a lot and the trainer helped me to recover as fast as I can. I believe now it is only a bad memory that can hopefully make me play better. It was an injury to learn from."
George, welcome to Spain. What did you think of Olympiacos winning the Greek Cup over Panathinaikos? Best of luck,
Carlos Marin - Madrid
"I believe that Olympiacos this year is a little better than last year because all its players have been together for more than a year. That's the secret they did not have in previous seasons. Every year, we were changing four or five key players. It was difficult to find a comfort zone between us. But now that's a big plus for Olympiacos. Meanwhile, Panathinaikos is not as good as last year and has had so many injuries. I think that's why Olympiacos won the cup."
First, let me say that it makes me happy that you recovered from your serious injury. You scared us! I would like to see you stay in Unicaja a long time. Will you complete your three-year contract? Best regards,
Malu - Malaga
"I want to stay also, but it's too early to talk about it. I have three years on my contract. I just have to play better and better each day so my team trusts me. I came here to win titles and to improving with a great coach, and that's what I plan to do."
Hello Giorgara, I am a Cypriot fan of Olympiacos and I would like to ask: what features of your game are you trying to improve at Unicaja?
Kyriakos Tofi - Cyprus
"I believe that what I have to improve is mostly psychological. At Olympiacos the last couple yeas, I played more that 20 minutes most games, but not all, so I was not able to show all the things I want to do on court. Here in Malaga, I have more chances, the offense is freer. You still have to play with as much economy as you can, but there's not so much stress as in Olympiacos about coming out of the game for a missed shot. That's one detail that helps a player to improve. When the team believes in him, he gets confidence in his game."
Hi George! We are very happy for you. The only question we have is: When you will return to Olympiacos? A faithful supporter of Olympiacos, and especially a big basketball fan,
Panagiotis Sideris - Greece
"Olympiacos is something that I love. I played there for years. But for sure, now, my target is to play as I well as i can here. I've said that one day I'd like to try the NBA, which is a dream I always had, but I don't know yet. Anyway, Olympiacos I love, and I would love to go back, but not yet."
George, which four teams do you believe will go to this year's Final Four? Wish you all the best,
George Giotsas - Greece
"I believe it will be Barcelona, Olympiacos, and most likely CSKA. The fourth one will be a surprise. I don't know yet, but I think it will be a surprise."
George, at Unicaja you have a chance to play with UK players for the first time, Joel Freeland and Robert Archibald. What do you think our chances are in the future as a national team? Cheers,
Royce Carrol - England
"I believe that they are a couple of very good players, both big guys. England also has Andrew Betts, another big guy. So maybe their team would be better with a few players at other positions. All their good players seem to play the five, so when that talent gets spread to other positions, the team will be good. Anyway, Freeland is young and I think he has a very good future, so the England team can build around him. Robert is also very good, smart and talented, and one of the leaders for them, too."