|Although he's the second-youngest Sportingbet MVP of the Month in the five-year history of the award, Milos Teodosic of Olympiacos certainly understands where he stands. His self-confidence was already bursting from an unexpected silver medal with Serbia in last summer's European Championships. Now, as a full-time starter with Olympiacos and one of the top-performing players at his position, point guard, Teodosic knows what he and his team can do together. And he doesn't want to wait to make special things happen for the Reds. "Olympiacos fans expect a lot more from us," the Sportingbet January MVP told Euroleague.net. "They have been waiting for a trophy for years, but so have the players. I think the time has come to win something. We are alive, very alive, in three competitions, and I think we will lift at least one trophy this year."
Milos, congratulations on a great month. What does it mean for you to be recognized as Sportingbet January MVP?
"It is a great recognition for me and for my team, because basketball is a collective sport. When they told me that I was Sportingbet MVP of the Month for January, I was overjoyed. But I would also trade any individual title or trophy for a team one in no time!"
On a team full of stars, how do you view your job as floor director, especially during this month when you were on the floor so much due to Theo Papaloukas being injured?
"I feel more involved every day with the team, more comfortable. The absence of Theo Papaloukas has increased the pressure on me, but point guards are always under pressure. Theo was with us in practice and helped us with his advice. Scoonie Penn and Pat Beverley also helped me out, as well as other teammates. Everything is easier that way."
With Panagiotis Giannakis and Theo Papaloukas, you have two all-time great point guards teaching you. What have you learned from them?
"It's a privilege to have both by my side. It's not easy to explain in a few words how exactly they help me. Probably I would say that it's the sum of many small details that, on their own, they may look insignificant, but when put together they make a world of difference. The most important thing is that both of them are ready and willing to share their ideas, their little tricks and their experience."
The first game in January was at Efes Pilsen, another talented team, in Istanbul. You spent 41 minutes on the floor that night to help win the game. What kind of self-confidence did you get from that?
"It was a very difficult game, but in the end everything turned out right for us. It is also true that the game gave me extra confidence. But I have to say that the trigger for my self-confidence was the European Championships in Poland last summer, where we won the silver medal with Serbia. The support of the coach and my teammates helped me show my best game even though I am convinced that I still have a lot of room to improve."
Next in January, you played Partizan in Belgrade, the city where you became known. What do those games against Partizan mean for you?
"There is special motivation for those, yes. Not only for the rivalry, but because I really want to play well in front of all the Serbian fans. Very few people can follow my Euroleague or Greek League games, but since the games against Partizan were on TV all over the country, it was a chance for me to show my best."
And those three blocks against Partizan? Were you trying to imitate Slavko Vranes, perhaps?
"Ha, ha! That is my career record, but Vranes cannot be matched. He is huge and he has progressed a lot. He has great timing to block shots."
Olympiacos did not have an easy start to the Top 16, going the road against the new group's second-seeded team, Caja Laboral. Was that game as exciting to play as it was to watch?
"It was a great game. Very hard to play, but I am sure it was beautiful to watch. We had enough time to prepare the game and in the end we pulled out the win, but that victory will only be important if we manage to win more. A lot more. There are no easy rivals in the Top 16 and every moment you relax gets its punishment. In Vitoria, we had a couple of down moments during the game and they got back in the game. We were quite accurate with our outside shots, but having in mind our advantage in the paint, maybe we could have used our big men more."
At the end of that game, you and Theo Papaloukas played together, making key assists to each other. What is it like playing together with him?
"Playing alongside Theo is a pleasure. Simply put, I feel more secure. With the ball in his hands, we are under the impression that he can't lose it. He is an expert player and also very generous, always willing to help a teammate. There's not a clear role distribution when we are both on court, the ball is handled by the first of us who receives it. Sometimes it's him, sometimes it's me. Papaloukas and Nikola Vujcic are the two smartest players with whom I have played, ever."
Did the month of January prove that Olympiacos is more than just great talent?
"I think so, but I am convinced that we can play better. There's room to progress. The beautiful game is useless if you don't win the titles. But I do think we are on the right track. However, we still have to win something..."
At 22 years old, are now you where you hoped to be when you left Serbia three years ago for Olympiacos?
"Yes, now I can answer that affirmatively, but my ambition does not stop here. Olympiacos fans expect a lot more from us. They have been waiting for a trophy for years, but so have the players. I think the time has come to win something. We are alive, very alive, in three competitions, and I think we will lift at least one trophy this year."