Fan Mail answers: Sani Becirovic

Mar 13, 2007 by Print
Sani Becirovic - Panathinaikos Considering the way he has led his team through an undefeated Top 16 to early qualification to the Quarterfinal Playoffs, it is no wonder that the Fan Mail arrived in droves for Panathinaikos guard Sani Becirovic. As the Greens aim straight for the Final Four this season, Becirovic has become a fan favorite among the Greens faithful. He has also become a complete convert to a Panathinaikos playing system that is nothing less than a search for excellence, from choosing players to insisting that they execute plays to perfection. "Each and every practice is a battle for positions," Becirovic said in one Fan Mail answer. "In this way, you can only improve, so that helps a lot. It's great to be part of such a huge team and to have the possibility to compete against the best European players every day."

Hey Sani. I am a Panathinaikos fan, and playing basketball, too, on a low-division team in Cyprus. I want too ask what are you feeling when you are entering OAKA with 20,000 fans cheering and singing for Panathinaikos? Good luck and I hope we win the Euroleague Trophy,
Panagiotis - Cyprus

"It is unique. That is the best way to describe it. There are not other arenas with this capacity of 20,000 or more fans. To tell the truth, the atmosphere against Olympiacos in our game there was just amazing, fabulous. Now the same is happening with the Euroleague games. We are a step away from the Final Four, so I just hope the people come in the same numbers."

Sani, congratulations on coming to PAO. I think you are doing fine and we like you as a player a lot. What do you like mostly about Greece and Panathinaikos? I wish you the best,
Georgellis Panagiotis - Greece

"About Greece, I've got to say that I am just crazy about it. My family and I are really enjoying life here. The people tream me very nice. I can only say all the best about all that's happening to me here. About the club itself, I'd say pretty much the same thing. The people in the club are really professional. They want to make you feel comfortable. The only thing you have to think about and care about is basketball. Everything is set for one common goal, to win as many titles as possible."

Sani Becirovic - PanathinaikosHi. I am 13 years old, from Greece, and a very big fan of yours. I would like to ask: Are willing to stay for many years in Panathinaikos?
Dimitris - Athens

"Oh yes, for sure I want to stay. This is the top, really. What more can a player want than this, playing at the highest level with the best coach? So my anwser is yes, I want to stay a long, long time, if possible."

Hello, Sani. I respect you and your team very much. Could Euroleague teams like Panathinaikos, CSKA Moscow, Winterthur FCB, TAU Ceramica, Maccabi Elite compete against NBA teams? Is it possible according to you? Thank you very much!
Georgi Demirov - Bulgaria

"My answer is yes, definitely we could compete, because of a few things. First, because now there is not as much of a difference left between NBA players and European players. And second because of the European level of basketball itself, which is really close to the NBA now, especially comparing games during the regular season. I think we could easily compete with half or more of the teams in the NBA."

Hi. I'm a Panathinaikos fan and here comes my question: What did you feel in the match between Panathinaikos-Barcelona about Jaka Lakovic? I hope that you''ll stay for ever in Panathinaikos and every single Green fan likes you.
Stavros Theocharis - Greece

"I felt bad for Jaka. I know, because I was in kind of the same situation the year before, playing for Fortitudo against Virtus. It was hard for me, so I knew something about what he was going through. You play somewhere for four years, there are a lot of emotions, and it's almost impossible to be in that situation of returning. You go from being the number one favorite of the fans to the number one enemy. So, I did feel sorry for Jaka, but this is sports and such things happen, and they are experiences that you have to learn from. I am sure Jaka learned a lot from it. And I know that he started playing excellent again right after that."

Hello Sani. What's your opinion of Zelimir Obradovic? Is he so demanding or is he patient? Good luck,
Selana - Greece

Sani Becirovic - Panathinaikos"You know that he's a perfectionist. He's a guy who will push you in every single way, just to get the best out of you. And he's good at it, sometimes in a nice way, sometimes in a more aggressive way. But always in the end he wants what is best for each player and will in any situation protect his players. So for me, it's a pleasure and an honor to play for a coach like him, who won a lot and knows the game of basketball like he knows it."

Panathinaikos has a brilliant roster this season .Do you enjoy you role in the team?
Alvydas Kimiskas - Lithuania

"I do enjoy it, and a lot. It's much, much easier and fun to play with players who know and understand the game of basketball. I had, let's say, a difficult time in the beginning, when I just got here, not because of the roster, but because of the system and the way Zeljko wants us to play. But since I have gotten comfortable with the system, it's really nice and fun. Imagine every time you go to pass the guy is waiting right where he should be. I am having so much fun it's incredible."

''Sani Boy'', how difficult was it in the beginning of the season to replace a player of Jaka's Lakovic calibre?
Georgios B, Elefsina, Greece

"The way I see it, and the way I tried to represent myself to Panathinaikos fans, is that Jaka and I are completely different players. There's not one thing we have in common besides both being Slovenians. As soon as I got here, I explained that and never thought about it since. What was most important and helped me a lot was playing good in the first two games against Olympiacos that we won, including a cup game, so the people here got to know quickly how I play in tough, hard games. So no, for those reasons, I didn't find it difficult stepping into Jaka's place. There were no problems, really."

Hi Sani. First of all, congratulations for your performance in the last games. It's a fact that Panathinaikos plays a very physical game. Are practice sessions intense and strong everytime? Thanks
Alexis Katsouris - Greece

"For one thing, the practices are not so long, but they are very demanding and intense. Those words are the ones coming to my mind about practice. We spend them working precisely on each and every play. We have to know exactly where to be and where the other guy has to be. That's one thing our coach is really strict about - respecting the play and executing it like it's supposed to unfold. But like I said, the practices are not long, which is good, and we have free space to work on other things, whether it's weights or technical stuff, shooting, dribbling or whatever."

Sani Becirovic - PanathinaikosHello Sani, from an Olympiakos fan! Panathinaikos is maybe the only team in Europe where there are two or three world-class players fighting for each position. How does all this competition affect and stimulate players?
Angelos Georgiou-Pireaus Greece

"For sure, each and every practice is a battle for positions. In this way, you can only improve, so that helps a lot. It's great to be part of such a huge team and to have the possibility to compete against the best European players every day. But on the other hand, if you don't have your best day, you might happen to play only 10 minutes. No one expects that, either, so the answer would depend on how you look at it. Of course, everyone wants to play 40 minutes, but on a team like this, normally, no one will score 25 points and be the go-to guy, because all 12 of our players can do it easily on any other team. But here, Coach is the guy who sets the rules and we know that we are here for a common goal, winning the Euroleague and the Greek championship."