|If there is one Turkish Airlines Euroleague player who can take the most credit for getting his team to the Top 16, it might be Vassilis Spanoulis of Olympiacos Piraeus. The former Final Four MVP is the second-ranked scorer of the regular season, with 19.8 points per game, while also ranking sixth in assists with 4.9 per game, and first in free throws made, with 59. Appreciation for what Spanoulis is doing elicited a flood of Fan Mail for him, one of which the 29-year-old guard answered by saying that no player goes it alone and still wins at the Euroleague level. "I want to do my best in every game, but I trust my coach and I trust my teammates," Spanoulis said. "I know that no one can win alone: only the team wins. Maybe you can't see it easily, but if I make a good shot, a three-pointer, and one of my teammates has made a good screen, that is a team job, not just me. We all go together."
Vassilis, who of your teamates during your career has taught you more and has influenced and enhanced your basketball style and techniques?
Martsios Christos - Greece
"I have been lucky to share the court with great teammates all during my career. I try to take the best from all of them, but I think the most important thing for every player is to create his own personality. But of course, if you are smart and lucky, as I have been, to have great teammates, you will learn a lot from them. I don't want to mention one, because a lot of them have helped me, and I am very thankful for that."
Hi Vasili, and congratulations on this year's remarkable start of the season. You've grown to become a highly effective shooter, both on the spot and off the dribble. How did you make that tremendous improvement (apart from a lot of practice)? Do you think it's a state of mind to be a shooter? Good luck in the Top 16 and thanks for answering!
Tolis - Peania, Greece
"I think some players are born to shoot the ball and others work on it. Shooting is something you can put a lot of work on to improve. I don't think that I was a born shooter, but I put in a lot of work, hours and hours and hours on spot-up shots, triples, layups and everything in order to improve. Even now, I put in a lot of work to improve my shot. So, I think it's a combination of working hard, technique and psychology. To me, everything in basketball starts with psychology. Someone with a good psychology will improve immediately their percentage in shooting."
Do you feel that Olympiacos can go to the Final Four this year or is the team still in rebuilding mode?
Michael Lazarou - Cyprus
"This team is, of course, in a rebuilding period. We put a lot of new faces on the team, a lot of young guys. They will be the future of this team. But we have a very experienced and great coach, which is a big plus for everyone. It's a big honor for all these kids to start their careers on a big team with this coach. We try to mix experience and young guys and we need to keep working at it, but it's a big thing for us to go to the Top 16. I think we need a little luck and some big games to go to the playoffs. I don't want to speak about the Final Four because I don't want to put pressure on such a young, inexperienced team. I want to take it step by step. And the next step is the Top 16."
Vassilis, what do you think is the one thing that Olympiacos needs most in order to get back to the top?
Manos Antonakis - Greece
"For sure, we need maybe more luck, and maybe not to have so much pressure on our shoulders. Sometimes I think that because it's been a lot of years since the team has won the championship of the Euroleague, the pressure is so much that many guys cannot handle it. It's too much. They can't put their talent on the court under so much pressure. When the team has luck and plays and enjoys basketball more, this team I think will go to the top."
Hello Vassilis. Your role Olympiacos is of higher importance compared to previous seasons. Your responsibilities are now crucial, you are considered to be a leader of your team and you proved with your stats that you can handle it successfully. How do you manage to cope with all that responsibility properly?
Ihsan Akkarpuz - Kocaeli, Turkey
"It's tough, but I am the kind of guy who will never say no. I will never quit and I will never say no. I will never do it. I will do my best. I will work hard every night, and what happens, happens. But I will never quit. Everything motivates me, everything challenges me. Everything new I take as a big motivation for me, and everyone on this club wants the best for us. Maybe this year, unlike others, we don't have the huge budget and the huge pressure because of our roster. And maybe this is good, because it's the first time in years that no one expects big things from us."
Hello Kill Bill. Do you feel stressed on your team because if one day you will not play well, your team will not win, especially when the finals arrive at the end of the season?
Dionysios Koutsogiannis - Greece
"No, stress, no. Like I said, I want to do my best in every game, but I trust my coach and I trust my teammates. I know that no one can win alone: only the team wins. Maybe you can't see it easily, but if I make a good shot, a three-pointer, and one of my teammates has made a good screen, that is a team job, not just me. We all go together. So no, I feel no stress. I feel only power and motivation to work hard for my team."
What is the characteristic feature you want to be remembered for? Your character, your passion for the game, or for being the best player of your era? Do you think you can accomplish it?
Babis Tennes - Greece
"I want to be remembered like a good teammate, first of all. Then, a good person, with a good character, and a player who every time I go out, all through my life, whether in a practice or a game, I wanted to be the best I can be and do every time what my coach asked from me."
Hi Bill. I would like to ask about your diet. Do you eat anything special on a competition day? Do you have any favorite food/snack/fruit? Thanks and we hope Olympiacos will progress as far as possible. Kind regards,
Ioannis Stogias - Greece
"I don't have a favorite food on something, but of course, over the last years I have done some of the same things in the same way on game day: when I will go out to shoot before the game, what I will do in the morning practice. But those are superstitions for me. If I tell them here, it will ruin my good luck!"
Vassilis, can you say, with hand on heart, that this team has the talent, the potential, to build on players such as Mantzaris, Papanikolaou, Sloukas, Katsivelis and Gecevicious, and become again a top-flight club in Europe soon?
Spyros Migadikis - Pireaus, Greece
"With hand on my heart, this team has a lot of future and a lot of present, but maybe needs more experience to go from here to there. These guys you mention are great talents, can be great players, and are great teammates for me now, but they need to work for it. You never know in basketball, but it's difficult for a team in its first year together to go straight to the top. You have to be working constantly and get better every year. But like I said, you never know. It's the philosophy of our coach - and I agree - that it's not good to put pressure on these young guys. It's much better to work every day and go step by step. Now, we are going to the Top 16, and we will have a new target. But it's better to achieve goals one by one than to put big pressure on them."