|30 May 2013|
|Kostas Koufos: "I want to have a future with the national team and when my career is over, to have success and medals in which I contributed to look back at" |
Denver Nuggets center Kostas Koufos confirmed on Wednesday recent rumours that he has decided to follow a personal training programme this summer and will not suit up for Greece at EuroBasket 2013.
"I wanted to play and was looking forward to it but unfortunately things don't always turn out the way we want," Koufos told the gazzetta.gr website.
The 24-year-old center explained that he underwent arthroscopic surgery last summer, when he missed out on Greece's campaign at the Pre-Olympic tournament in Venezuela.
"The rehabilitation process didn't give me enough time to work out correctly and strengthen my feet and despite the good season I had this year, I could not take advantage of my ability to score far from the basket," he said.
"I only moved inside the paint and still did not get the ball so much to play with my back to the basket.
Koufos was a starter for Denver, which reached the Western Conference play-offs, averaging eight points and 6.9 rebounds per game throughout the season.
"This summer I will have the opportunity to lift weights and undergo correct training so that next season I have more options in my offensive game and be more aggressive on defence," he explained.
"This could be the most important summer in my entire career."
Koufos admitted that this training plan focusing on specific details was devised by the Nuggets and was delivered to him after the end of the season, which came for Denver when they fell to the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the play-offs.
"Nobody knows how much I love the national team and how important it is for me to wear its jersey," he said.
"I want to have a future with the national team and when my career is over, to have success and medals in which I contributed to look back at.
"But to achieve this, I need to stay healthy, get stronger and improve as a player, so I need to invest in this personal programme this summer."
"I am looking forward to pulling on the national team shirt and playing again alongside these talented and great guys like [Vasilis] Spanoulis, [Kostas] Papanikolaou, [Ioannis] Bourousis, [Nick] Calathes and achieve great things together.
"I consider myself a soldier of the national team for the next 10 years."
Koufos first played for the national team at the U18 European Championship in 2007, and averaged a monstrous tournament double-double of 26.5 points and 13.0 rebounds to propel the Greeks to the silver medal and claim MVP honours.
His first tournament as a senior international was EuroBasket 2009 in Poland, when he was still playing in the NCAA, and he then averaged 8.7 points and 3.7 rebounds at EuroBasket 2011.