Panathinaikos celebrates its go-ahead playoffs win against Regal FC Barcelona. Panathinaikos has the chance to win its sixth Euroleague title, as the Greens previously lifted the trophy in 1996, 2000, 2002, 2007 and 2009. Only CSKA, with 6 Euroleague titles, and Real Madrid, that lifted the trophy eight times, are ahead of Panathinaikos in the all-time list.
Mike Batiste and Nick Calathes celebrate that Panathinaikos will keep fighting for Euroleague glory. Panathinaikos has been very successful in odd years recently. The Greek powerhouse made it to the Final Four in 2005 and went on to lift the trophy in 2007 and 2009. Being loyal to its recent tradition, Panathinaikos has reached the Final Four in 2011.
Milenko Tepic has the chance to play in his first Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four. A young veteran in his fifth Euroleague season, Tepic is a versatile defensive stopper able to guard anyone at all three perimeter spots. Expect him to test his defensive skills against the best scoring guards present at the 2011 Final Four.
An All-Euroleague first team selection last season, Aleks Maric is set to become Panathinaikos' X-factor at the 2011 Final Four. Maric missed most of his Euroleague season due to an elbow injury but is ready to power his strength, size and post skills down low, starting with the semifinal game against Italian powerhouse Montepaschi Siena.
A Euroleague champion in 2009, Stratos Perperoglou is ready to keep helping Panathinaikos in many ways. A part-time starter in coach Zeljko Obradovic's squad, Perperoglou is a good shooter with very few weaknesses in his game. He offers versatility, defense and his team-oriented game to make the Greens even more dangerous at both ends.
In his fourth season with Panathinaikos, Stratos Perperoglou is having his best scoring season (7.5 ppg.) since he joined the team. Perperoglou's impact goes beyond numbers, however, as he thrives in defense due to his quickness and athleticism. He goes to the foul line often and always plays with aggressivity and much-appreciated intensity.
In his eighth season with Panathinaikos and at age 33, Mike Batiste is arguably playing his best basketball ever. Batiste has led Panathinaikos in scoring (12.8 ppg.), rebounds (5.3 rpg.) and blocks (0.9 rpg.) in this Euroleague season. A two-time Euroleague winner with Panathinaikos, Batiste hopes to add another continental trophy at the 2011 Final Four.
Mike Batiste not only is a natural-born winner, but an institution in the competition. Batiste ranks high in the all-time lists, as he ranks ninth (2,016 points), fifth in rebounds (894) and seventh in accumulated performance index rating (2,274). Batiste can also become the first US player to win three Euroleague titles since the competition started in 2000.
Antonis Fotsis takes over with a monster slam. Fotsis earned Top 16 Week 4 honors with a career-best 40 performance index rating. Fotsis helped Panathinaikos to win its second Euroleague title in 2000 and also allowed the Greens to lift the continental trophy in 2009. He has averaged 8.3 points and 5.2 rebounds in 20 Euroleague games this season.
Antonis Fotsis is one of the five players that can claim to have won the Euroleague and the Eurocup titles. The other four are Ricky Rubio, Robertas Javtokas, Lazaros Papadopoulos and Dejan Tomasevic. All of them but Rubio won their Euroleague titles with the Greens. Felipe Reyes of Real Madrid and Chuck Eidson of Maccabi Electra can join them in 2011.
Romain Sato of Panathinaikos is set to face his former team, Montepaschi Siena, in the semifinals. He will not be the only player to do so, as D'or Fischer of Real Madrid will go against Maccabi Electra. Sato led Montepaschi to win four Italian League titles in as many seasons, as well as helping the team to reach the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four in 2008.
Athletic and experienced, Romain Sato of Panathinaikos is the only player from the Central African Republic to ever play in a Final Four. His best this season happened to be in a critical situation, as Sato had 18 points on 4-of-5 three-pointers too lead Panathinaikos to a 71-75 pivotal road win in Game 2 of the best-of-five Quarterfinal Playoffs.
A former Alphonso Ford top scoring trophy winner, Drew Nicholas is one of the few players that have won the NCAA and the Euroleague titles. Nicholas won the NCAA Championship with Maryland in 2002 and lifted the Euroleague trophy with Panathinaikos in 2009. Only Tyus Edney, Jiri Zidek and Tony Delk did it before him.
Drew Nicholas has been unstoppable in 2011, scoring in double digits in all Turkish Airlines Euroleague games but one until he got injured in Game 4 of the playoff series against Regal FC Barcelona. Nicholas left the game with a sprained ankle but is expected to help Panathinaikos at the 2011 Final Four!
Experienced and always productive, Kostas Tsartsaris has played a key role for coach Zeljko Obradovic. In his ninth season with Panathinaikos, Tsartsaris is averaging 6 points on a superb 64.3% two-point percentage. Tsartsaris won the 2007 and 2009 Euroleague titles with Panathinaikos and hopes to lift the trophy with the Greens this season.
Kostas Tsartaris started his professional career in Iceland. Tsartsaris played for Grindavik during the 1997-98 season, averaging 16.3 rebounds per game. He played for Near East and Peristeri in his native Greece before joining Panathinaikos in summer 2002. He has proudly worn the Greens' jersey for almost a decade.
Dimitris Diamantidis of Panathinaikos has been simply unstoppable this season. Diamantidis, the Euroleague MVP in December, posted career-best numbers of 12.6 points and 5.7 assists this season. He boosted his scoring average to 18 points in the Quarterfinal Playoffs series against Regal FC Barcelona, leading his team to the Final Four.
A natural-born winner, Diamantidis is arguably one of the best defensive guards to ever play the game. A five-time Best Defender trophy winner, Diamantidis can guard any player from point guard to even power forward. He ranks third all-time in steals (271) and amazingly enough for a point guard, 22nd in blocks (79).
Diamantidis has the chance to win a second Final Four MVP award. He was the 2007 Final Four MVP, as he led Panathinaikos to beat CSKA 93-91 in a truly outstanding title game. Only Toni Kukoc (1990, 1991, 1993) and Dejan Bodiroga (2002, 2003) have won multiple Final Four MVP awards since the format was chosen in 1988.
Ian Vougioukas is one of the 14 players that have worked for Panathinaikos and Olympiacos. Vougioukas played for Olympiacos in 2008-09 and is in his first season with the Greens. The list offers names as Vassilis Spanoulis, Alexander Volkov, Dino Radja, Zarko Paspalj, Johnny Rogers or Demetris Papanikolaou - the only one to win Euroleague titles with both teams.
His size and post skills turn Ian Vougioukas into a hard-to-guard player. In fact, Vougioukas ranks second in fouls drawn per minute (0.22) in this Euroleague season, trailing Sofoklis Schortsianitis of Maccabi (0.25). He had 10 points in 15 minutes in Game 4 of the playoffs series against Barcelona, helping Panathinaikos to reach the Final Four!
Nick Calathes stepped up just when Panathinaikos needed him - in the Quarterfinal Playoffs against Regal FC Barcelona. Calathes started all 4 games and boosted his scoring average to 7.8 points. Calathes had averaged just 2.2 points in the Top 16. He hopes to keep his momentum going and help the Greens to conquer yet another Euroleague title!
In his first season with Panathinaikos, Kostas Kaimakoglou has become a reliable options at both forwards. Kaimakoglou leads Panathinaikos in free throw percentage (89.3%), hitting 25 of 28 attempts. Kaimakoglou makes his Final Four debut offering size, toughness and versatility.
Zeljko Obradovic is the winningest coach in Euroleague history? He has won Euroleague titles with Partizan in 1992, Joventut in 1994, Real Madrid in 1995 and Panathinaikos in 2000, 2002, 2007 and 2009. Coach Obradovic is also the only coach to win the Euroleague title with four different teams.