|02 January 2013|
Few players are as qualified to sum up Greece's 2012, mark targets for the new year and assess the credentials of new coach Andrea Trinchieri, as national team captain Nikos Zisis.
The Bilbao Basket guard has been a senior Greek international since 2003 and has experienced glorious moments like the golden triumph of EuroBasket 2005, but nothing quite as bad as this past summer.
|Andrea Trinchieri has very good references according to Zisis|
"In 2012 we [the Greek national team] hit rock bottom," Zisis said in an extensive interview with Greek daily 'I efimerida ton Syntakton'.
"Our loss to Nigeria in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Venezuela and missing out on the London Games is the biggest failure in the modern history of the national team," the captain admitted.
Zisis has conquered the Turkish Airlines Euroleague trophy with CSKA Moscow, as well as several Italian Serie A titles and the Greek league title at the beginning of his career.
He has also won more medals with the Greek national team than legends like Dimitris Diamantidis or Theo Papaloukas, having started his silverware collection at the U16 European Championship in 1999.
As a true champion, he possesses the ability to quickly pick up lessons and then look ahead at what he can accomplish next.
"Last summer's slap in the face has made us stronger," Zisis said.
"I believe that this coming summer, as long as we don't have injury problems, we will have one of the most complete [greek national] teams of recent years.
"The EuroBasket in Slovenia is a big opportunity for us.
"There's been times we were missing a shooter, a big guy or a guard, but this time we have all positions covered, a mix of veterans and younger players.
"Guys who, under different circumstances, would be in the starting five might be left out of the 12-man squad."
Trinchieri In Charge
Media reports that the Greek Basketball Federation (EOK) had reached an agreement with Mapooro Cantú head coach Andrea Trinchieri to take over the reins of the senior national team intensified during the last days of 2012.
Although Zisis was unaware of the official confirmation at the time he gave the interview, he knew the appointment was imminent, especially since Cantú president Anna Cremascoli all but confirmed the appointment one day in advance.
She had told local daily 'Il Corriere di Como' that the club was "proud and honoured that Andrea Trinchieri has been chosen to coach the Greek National Team, one of the most important teams in Europe."
Zisis has spent five of the best years of his career playing in Italy, with Benetton Treviso and Montepaschi Siena and has an informed opinion on Trinchieri.
"Based on my experience in Italy, where I've faced teams coached by him as opponents, and on what I've heard from players of his, like [Italy international] Pietro Aradori, with whom we coincided at Siena, I know he is a methodical and qualified coach who has won everyone's respect," he said.