interview: Henry Domercant, Olympiacos

Nov 07, 2006 by Frank Lawlor, Print
Henry, there's a lot of pressure on Olympiacos this year, but you guys have started 2-0. Everything is going according to plan so far?

"Of course. It always feels good to be on a winning streak. "We just want to keep getting better, to keep chemistry amongst ourselves and to keep winning games. That's what it takes."

The Final Four is obviously the goal for Olympiacos this season. How much do you guys try to avoid the subject and how much do you try to embrace it?

"I think we embrace it. I think it's important to have goals. That's something to work towards, and we think that it's something that's attainable. Nobody thinks it will be easy. We have to stay focused and continue to get better every day. We feel that if we play our basketball, the type of basketball we want to play, we can compete with anyone in Europe."

Henry Domercant - OlympiacosYou arrived over the summer from Efes Pilsen, another team that's always knocking on the Final Four door. Was it a tough decision to move or were you looking for a change?

"Efes was a great team and a good situation. This opportunity just presented itself. I knew that Olympiacos had another great coach in Europe trying to build a great team with the Final Four coming to Athens and the club trying to do something special here. I was just happy to be asked to be a part of it."

Is your role any different now with Olympiacos than what we were used to seeing of you with Efes Pilsen?

"I would say yes in one sense, because they are two different types of teams, with two different systems and different coaches. Here at Olympiacos, it's a little different than at Efes. We might be a little deeper, as far as the number of players we have who can contribute. But ultimately my role is the same. They want me to play good defense and be a factor on offense. Even though I am the leading scorer now, I think maybe I had a more important role offensively at Efes. Here we play more of an up-tempo style, which leads to more possessions and more opportunities. So just the style of play would be more offensive-minded in some respects, but not all that different."

Your progression in Europe has been constant from the time you arrived four years ago. You seem to have adjusted right away to European basketball? You even play for the Bosnian national team.

"Everything takes an adjustment. I have been fortunate so far to be in good situations and have good relations with some great coaches. I also adjusted well to the cities I have been in, two of the best. And thankfully, with all that, I've been able to have success."

What is your opinion of the Euroleague now as compared to when you arrived in Europe?

"The Euroleague is a tough league. There are a lot of great, talented players. It is definitely a much tougher competition than the regular domestic leagues, and that makes it exciting to be a part of. The way it's designed, every game and every week are critical. Things can turn around and change in a week. Again, that makes it fun to be a part of."

Everyone can see that you are a fiery, emotional player. What kind of reaction have you had so far from the Olympiacos fans, who are kind of fiery themselves?

Henry Domercant - Olympiacos"It's been great. They're support is great. I believe they are definitely a factor in the games. We had to play the first three or four Greek League home games without fans because of some incident last year, and when they finally came, that really changed the atmosphere. They give us a homecourt advantage and they give me a lot of motivation. It's always a good situation with great fans."

How different is playing in Greece as a home player than as a visitor?

"Of course the Greek fans, when you are a visitor, they are obviously more hostile toward you. I don't think every country has the same type of fan participation at the same level that they do here. It definitely feels good to be on this side of things, with them cheering for you."

Looking ahead a bit, which teams do you expect to be coming to Athens for the Final Four?

“There are a lot of great teams in the Euroleague. I definitely have to say that we'll be there. I have confidence in my team and I know we'll get better. I would have to go with the champs, too, until they are not champs anymore: so I imagine that CSKA will be there, too. There seems to be always a Spanish team that makes it, because that's a tough league and teams seem to get better as the season goes along. Barcelona, for instance had a tough start, but they always finish strong. It could be them, or maybe Tau, or maybe Unicaja, who remember we have only seen without Marcus Brown so far. Obviously, Panathinaikos will always be close to making it. But I can't be sure, because it's such a competitive league, that it depends on who is playing well at that moment."