Demetris Nichols: Fans are our 6th man
Demetris talked about his European career, and how he sees his place in Athens.
Last couple of seasons are clear peak of your career. What helped the most in your Euroleague breakthrough?
I started in Europe in Russia, in CSKA Moscow, they gave me the opportunity to put my name on the map, and playing for CSKA you get the experience that you need.
Experience with CSKA Moscow was special one-you have won European crown. How have you felt in that glory night?
It felt great, man. It felt like all the hard work just paid off, we had a goal, and we succeeded in pursuing it, and it really was something special.
What can you tell us about your working time with two fantastic coaches in CSKA and PAO? Can you compare working habits of Itoudis and Pascual for us?
Coaches are very similar, very serious, they have a lot of different schemes, and when you get to the certain level you need new ways to win, always have to think about new plays or a new strategy, new ideas, so both coaches are very similar in that level.
PAO is entering the final stage of this season. Crucial battles are in front of you. What do you personally expect of Euroleague playoffs and Greek Championship do or die games?
I think it is going to be a great Euroleague playoff and a great Greek Championship playoff, we face Fenerbahce, coach who coached here for many years and i expect the atmosphere to be really good. When it comes to Greek Championship, I don’t know what to expect, because this is my first time playing here, but it should be exciting.
Your path with “Greens” is not straightforward so far. Your minutes on the court flow from really high to almost non existent. Why is so?
Well, my minutes have been going up and down lately, but I am in the starting lineup right now and that is just the way it is, you know, sometimes you play sometimes you don’t, I gave my team whatever team needs and wants at certain time, I always play hard and try to get my team better and try to get a win every time.
What can you tell us about the atmosphere in OAKA Arena? Do you enjoy playing there after quiet Moscow?
We really feed from our fans, and i think they also feed from us, I don’t think we could do this without them, they are always our 6th man, they are always there for us, even when we have bad moments they are there for us, so I am glad that we have home court advantage because we play great at home.
PAO and Fenerbahce clashes would be like dessert for basketball lovers. Who do you highlight as the toughest opponent there?
I don’t have anybody particular but I know it is going to be a great challenge for everybody at every position including coaches, and it should be a really good series because we have two great coaches, two great teams, but here in OAKA we have a chance to be something special.
You have been in NBA and close to NBA many times. What have you stopped to success overseas as well?
I played in the NBA for two years, but after I didn’t get a lot of playing time I decided to go overseas and grabbed the opportunity to play, I am here for eight years and I hope for another successful eight years.
One technical question. You have struggled in shooting percentages during your first college year. What drill helped you to become so good shooter after it?
I didn’t really play during my first three years in college, but I worked hard every single day, I had a shooting coach, I tried to perfect my crafts, I knew I was good at it, and that hard work just gave me confidence, it felt good to see that my hard work is paying off.
Your predictions about PAO-Fener games? Who do you see as favorite to win Greece this season?
I think that we are the favorites. We have the great advantage in starting and home, I know that we will have to go to their house, too, but I think that we have the advantage and I am really looking forward to it. Greek league, like I said, I never played in Greek Championship before but I expect to see some really good series.