Sasha Vezenkov on improving: “Bartzokas believed in me”

By Vangelis Ioannou/ [email protected]

The Olympiacos Media to open preparations for the next Turkish Airlines EuroLeague season featured Sasha Vezenkov sitting down with Eurohoops. His discussion with Vangelis Ioannou went from upping his game as a member of the Reds to the summer additions to the team coached by Giorgos Bartzokas.

“I have put a lot of work into improving. You can’t be successful without working, no matter the talent,” he mentioned on the upward trend of recent years, “The team is above myself. I don’t like talking about me.”

Vezenkov, 26, logged 11.5 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 1.1 assists per EuroLeague contest last season. A healthy boost compared to his 7.1 points per 2019-20 game. He was limited to 3.8 points per game in his first season back in Greece and 3.5 points per game in his last season at FC Barcelona.

“The previous seasons were far from perfect, but coach Bartzokas and my improvement really helped. I also received help from my family,” he explained on the growth of his game, “The coach believed in me, he trusted me, and I took the opportunity.”

As for his future at Olympiacos, a contract extension can be in the cards.

“Team officials know I feel comfortable here. There have been initial talks on a contract extension and we will continue talking. But now is not the time,” he said, “Both sides respect each other, so I believe this will have a happy ending.”

The Reds are planning to return to the top-tier division of Greece after being limited to the second division the last couple of years.

“We will compete for every title. We were missing domestic games. With more games, the schedule becomes more demanding,” Vezenkov told Eurohoops, “You must be consistent in this challenging EuroLeague to make the Playoffs. This is a long-term goal, but teamwork and team chemistry are necessary.”

It will be strange without Vassilis Spanoulis part of the squad. But the new captain Giorgos Printezis will still be around.

“Their accomplishments together are nearly unreachable,” he replied to a question on potentially matching Spanoulis and Printezis along with Kostas Sloukas, “Everyone has his own personality. Sloukas has won plenty of titles. I just want to help the team in any way I can. These last few years have been rough, but we hope to be successful in the future.”

Tyler Dorsey, Michalis Lountzis, Moustapha Fall, and Thomas Walkup have been added by Olympiacos ahead of the 2021-22 season.

“Our summer additions are all quality players. They have played for leading teams. They are experienced,” said Vezenkov.

The 2021-22 EuroLeague opener is approaching for the Greek powerhouse with Baskonia scheduled to visit Piraeus on October 1.

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