Calathes cites “amazing” experience to play for Greece in Crete
null Nick Calathes (GRE) – Greece v Israel, 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 European Qualifiers, Heraklion – Heraklion Arena “Dyo Aorakia”(GRE), First Round, 27 November 2017
HERAKLION (FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 European Qualifiers) – Nick Calathes admits he feels a sense of responsibility to wear the Greece shirt not only in Athens but in different parts of the country, as he did on Monday in Heraklion, Crete, when helping the national team beat Israel in the World Cup Qualifiers.
The Greeks, who had needed overtime to win at Great Britain on Friday, were more convincing winners at home against the Israelis with Calathes scoring 11 points and handing out 8 assists in an 82-61 triumph.
“For us to come here, to put on the jersey, getting very close to the people that do not have the opportunity to see us every day, is amazing,” the Panathinaikos playmaker said.
“WHEN YOU PUT ON THE GREECE JERSEY, EVERYBODY IS UNITED. FOR US, IT’S ALWAYS GREAT TO PLAY FOR THE NATIONAL TEAM IN FRONT OF OUR CROWD”
“People have the chance to cheer not only for Panathinaikos and Olympiacos, but for Greece. It’s very good, good for the country, for basketball, for the city, for everyone.
“When you put on the Greece jersey, everybody is united. For us, it’s always great to play for the national team in front of our crowd.”
Taking the game to different parts of countries is one of the aims of FIBA’s New Competition System.
Calathes says he always wants to represent Greece, which is something he’s done since FIBA EuroBasket 2009, the last time the national team reached the podium. Greece finished third that year.
“Absolutely,” he said. “It’s a great honor to put on this jersey. That’s why I try to play whenever I can, to represent the country, fight and play for the jersey I am privileged to put on.”
“FOR US TO COME HERE, TO PUT ON THE JERSEY, GETTING VERY CLOSE TO THE PEOPLE THAT DON’T HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO SEE US EVERY DAY, IS AMAZING.”
Calathes and his Panathinaikos teammates, Thanasis Antetokounmpo and Ian Vougioukas, did not play in the win at Great Britain but all three were at the Israel game.
“We always want to play for the national team,” he said. “We got the opportunity and here we are.”
The trio teamed up with players from other Greek clubs that were given a chance to represent the country in the World Cup Qualifiers.
Other Greece players in Heraklion were Giannoulis Larentzakis, Dimitris Mavroeidis and Dusan Sakota (all AEK), Aris duo Giannis Athinaiou and Panagiotis Vasilopoulos, PAOK’s Vangelis Margaritis, Promitheus duo Nikolaos Gikas and Christos Saloustros and AGO Rethymno’s Charis Giannopoulos.
AEK’s Dusan Sakota and Panathinaikos’ Calathes were teammates on Monday
“I have played against the guys that this time were my teammates,” Calathes said. “I know these guys. We just try to do as well as we can, to form a team and to get to know each other.
“Obviously we will make mistakes, but all these guys will give 100 percent every time they step onto the floor for the national team. That’s all you want. For a team, for your country – giving everything on the court.”