A natural fit on the 2010-20 EuroLeague All-Decade team as voted by fans, media, players and coaches, Georgios Printezis helped redefine the power forward position and authored the biggest shot in the EuroLeague over the last decade.
One of the most versatile players in competition history, Printezis can hit the outside shot with unlimited range, can run the floor like a guard and has supreme post skills which allow him to finish around the rim with either hand as one of the few true ambidextrous players in basketball history. He started the decade with Unicaja Malaga and spent most of it with Olympiacos Pireaus, with which he won two EuroLeague titles.
"We are very happy to make them happy after so many years. The last basket did not win the game, we won it during the game. We were focused, we never gave up. And we won," Printezis said after his game-winning shot in the 2012 championship game.
Printezis returns to win
Printezis grew up with Olympiacos's youth teams and joined Unicaja before the start of the 2009-10 season. After a couple of seasons in Malaga during which he overcame a career-threatening shoulder injury, Printezis returned to Olympiacos at the start of the 2011-12 season and finished it the best way possible. Down 19 points with 13 minutes left in the 2012 championship game in Istanbul against CSKA, Olympiacos rallied and Printezis hit the championship-winning shot with 0.7 seconds left. Olympiacos would go on to be the only team to successfully defend the EuroLeague title in the 2010s by downing Real Madrid 100-88 in the 2013 championship game in London. Printezis also took Olympiacos to EuroLeague championship games in 2015 and 2017. He was chosen to the 2016-17 All-EuroLeague First Team and also earned MVP of the month honors for April 2015.
"Teams that play against us have to fight and play 100% to beat us... Everybody plays with heart, gives 100%. Our team chemistry is really good. We work hard and even in a game we are behind, we never stop until the last whistle."
Printezis was a steady force in the EuroLeague, finishing the decade fourth in PIR (2,916) and fifth in both scoring (2,696 points) and rebounds (1,117). He was one of only two players to get at least 2,500 points and 1,000 rebounds in the 2010s; the other was Ante Tomic. No other power forward made more two-point shots (882) in the EuroLeague during the decade.
It was the Istanbul Miracle. In the 2012 championship game, CSKA led 61-60 and former EuroLeague MVP, Ramunas Siskauskas - a career 76.7% free throw shooter - was at the foul line. To everyone’s amazement, Siskauskas missed twice and the rest is history. Kostas Papanikolaou grabbed the defensive rebound, immediately handed it to Vassilis Spanoulis, who was guarded by Alexey Shved. When the entire CSKA defense surrounded him, Spanoulis fed Printezis for a one-handed baseline floater that went through the bottom of the net with 0.7 seconds left. Milos Teodosic tried to send a length-of-the-court baseball pass, but Kyle Hines sent it out of bounds and the game clock expired. Olympiacos had won its second EuroLeague title, its first since 1997, and Printezis had made European basketball history in golden letters with his last-second, game-winning shot, completing one of the greatest comebacks ever seen in a championship game. Ever.