Defence Is Our Music - Ioannidis

30 August 2003
From PA International, Athens

When Greece are playing defence, it's music to coach Yiannis Ioannidis' ears.

When they have the ball, though, he isn't so sure.

"In basketball and in life you should have rhythm," Ioannidis said after Greece's 76-58 win over Slovenia this week.

"You get rhythm with the music. We don't have the music in offence and it is bad to talk there."

He'll know that just as long as the Greeks are playing well on defence, they will contend for medals next month in Sweden.

Defence is his gospel, always has been.

Ioannidis has won 12 Greek championships, six Greek Cups and achieved what looks an unbeatable record with 80 consecutive wins during a stint as Aris coach, because of his approach to defence.

Good defending was sometimes on display in the Acropolis Tournament, where Greece beat Poland 91-62, Israel 73-54 and finally Slovenia.

Against the Poles, a game in which Antonis Fotsis led five players in double figures with 18 points, Ioannidis wasn't impressed.

"We made a lot of mistakes," he said. "Most of the players were thinking only how to score."

After the next win over Israel, visiting coach Muli Katzurin said everything that needed to be said.

"I'm confused by the Greek team," he said. "I'm trying to understand who are the starters and who are the reserves, and who among them are better."

Siena's Michalis Kakiozis, one of their less celebrated players but by no means less influential, followed up his 16-point performance against Poland with 17 points to lead the Greeks.

But defensively, Greece limited Israel to only 54 points.

"Greece is one of the four best teams in Europe," Katzurin said.

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