| After missing the start of the season due to injury, Kostas Sloukas made an instant impact upon cracking the Olympiacos Piraeus lineup. In fact, the Reds have won nine of the 13 Turkish Airlines Euroleague games he’s played this season. Sloukas has been a dead-eye shooter with a flair for the dramatic and has stepped up in big games in both the Top 16 and the playoffs. Long considered a promising talent after picking up multiple medals on the junior circuit with the Greek national team, Sloukas this season was fourth in voting for the 2012 Euroleague Rising Star award by Euroleague head coaches despite missing much of the regular season. Now, Sloukas looks to start collecting trophies as he arrives at his first Final Four. Before that, Sloukas took part in a pre-Final Four edition of Fan Mail, in which he talked about his great season and what’s coming next. Sloukas is ready for a big battle against FC Barcelona Regal in the semifinals, as he explained to one fan. "We have talented, young guys and hope to do great things in the future," Sloukas said. "As for this Euroleague title, we have to focus on Barcelona and follow our game plan. I believe both teams have 50-50 chances in this game."
Hello Kostas. What emotions does a young player have before going to the Final Four for the first time? What do you expect from this basketball celebration? Congratulations on your amazing pass to Hines in the last game against Siena!
George - Athens, Greece
"Thank you, George! Like you said, this is the first Final Four of my career. I did not join the team in our two previous appearances in 2009 and 2010. For sure it is something exciting and a great thing to achieve as an athlete. I hope we can win the Euroleague and even though it will be hard for us, we will give our best and try hard."
Hi Kostas. Olympiacos is the youngest team in this year's Final Four. What will be the factors that help you overcome a tried and tested Barcelona team? Good luck in the Final Four.
Michael Lazarou - Cyprus
"Hello Michael, thanks for the good wishes! Barcelona is a really talented team and like you said, we don't have as much experience as them. We have to be aggressive and play smart and if we do, I think we can beat them. We have to stick to our game plan."
How did you score your last-second shot against Galatasaray? I was shocked when it happened; I was there! Olympiacos has played really well in the playoffs. Good luck in Istanbul!
Doruk Engin - Istanbul, Turkey
"Thanks, Doruk. Yes, we played better as the season went on and hope to do even better in the Final Four! As for the midcourt shot, it was a lucky one! I never shoot from midcourt, not even at the end of practice. I was lucky, but this how basketball is – and I love it."
Hello Kostas. Can Olympiacos Piraeus win this year's Euroleague title and then start winning the competition more times in the future?
Iorgos Theodoropoulos - Greece
"Hello Iorgos. Well, we are a team with a great future ahead of us. We have talented, young guys and hope to do great things in the future. As for this Euroleague title, we have to focus on Barcelona and follow our game plan. I believe both teams have 50-50 chances in this game."
Hey Kostas. Of course, stopping Juan Carlos Navarro will be very important for Olympiacos. Without getting into details, will your try something specific against him and his 'bombas'? Good luck!
Antonio Fernandez - Madrid, Spain
"Thanks, Antonio! For sure, Navarro is the one of the best scorers in Europe. I like him a lot! He is a very good players, has proved it a lot of times and we respect him a lot. I don't know the exact plan to try to stop him, but it is a big key for us to win the game. So, I cannot say if we will do something specific or not."
How is it like to work with Coach Ivkovic? Being a team with so many young players, is the age difference a problem? I hope you all bring the cup home like in 1997!
Ioannis Larentzakis - Piraeus, Greece
"Thanks a lot, Ioannis. Dusan Ivkovic is one of the best coaches in Europe and is very experienced. He knows everything about basketball and has helped us a lot. I trust him 100% and the age difference has never been a problem for any of us. He knows how to communicate with his players and how to get 100% from each of us."
Hello Kostas. Are you a superstitious person? If so, I hope that helps you to win the Euroleague title!
Pavel Benacek - Czech Republic
"Thanks for your question, Pavel. Yes, I am a little bit superstitious, but I don't think I go over the limits. I don't know if the guys are very superstitious or not, really. I guess every player has his own superstition. What I do is shooting in warm-up clothes, no matter if it is summer or winter, cold or hot."
Hey Kostas. My question is about Sir Kyle Hines. I love his Euroleague blog. What do you like about him as a player and how is he off the court? Good luck!
Bernd Rockmann - Bamberg, Germany
"Thanks, Bernd! Sir Kyle Hines! On the court, he is an excellent player. He is not very tall, but is a smart guy and knows how to create for other guys. He always plays with a lot of energy. Off the court, he has a great character, we are friends and stay in touch. He is a very good guy who never creates problems, ever. An excellent guy."
So Kostas, if you win the Euroleague title, how are you going to celebrate? Go for the trophy, man!
Athanasios Zaras - Piraeus, Greece
"Well, first of all, Athanasios, I hope we can celebrate at the end of the weekend! I really don't know what we are going to do, but it won't be a long celebration because we play the Greek League finals against Panathinaikos right after the Final Four. Once the Greek League finals are over, I hope we will have plenty of reasons for a big, big celebration!"