Greek players continue to participate in Final Four
This year, no Hellenic club will participate in the Final Four of the EuroLeague, but since 1993 at least one Greek player has always competed in the decisive phase of the competition.
Unfortunately, this is the second consecutive season when the Final Four of the EuroLeague takes place without the participation of a Greek club, as Olympiacos didn’t even make the playoffs and Panathinaikos were ruthlessly swept 0:3 by reigning champions Real Madrid in the quarter-finals. Nevertheless, there has always been a Greek player in the Final Four since 1993, and that tradition will continue with Kostas Sloukas of Fenerbahce set to play in the competition which starts on Friday. Fenerbahce will take on Turkish rivals Anadolu Efes in the semi-final.
Dimitris Itoudis, head coach of CSKA Moscow, will aim to qualify for the showpiece game when facing Real Madrid in the second semi-final scheduled for Friday evening. This is the fifth year in a row when Itoudis has taken CSKA to the Final Four.
Since 1988, a grand total of 58 Greek players have played in the EuroLeague Final Four, with Theodoros Papaloukas leading the way. Overall, Papaloukas played in 18 Final Four games over the course of nine seasons, winning the competition twice in 2006 and 2008 with CSKA Moscow. Papaloukas twiced played in the Final Four as an Olympiacos representative.
In second place we have Panathinaikos legend Fragiskos Alvertis. Just like Papaloukas, he played in nine Final Fours, however he only competed in 16 games compared to the former’s 18.
Alvertis etched his name into the history books with an incredible five EuroLeague triumphs with Panathinaikos, tasting glory in the competition in 1996, 2000, 2002, 2007 and 2009. In the 16 Final Four matches, Alvertis registered a point average of 9.1, while averaging 2.1 rebounds and 0.6 assists.
Third position is occupied by Kostas Sloukas with six Final Fours to his name, and assuming he takes to the court against Anadolu Efes on Friday, that tally will rise to seven. In an impressive statistic, this will be fifth successive season when the 29-year-old guard has played in the EuroLeague Final Four, hoisting the cup above his head on three occasions in 2012, 2013 and 2017.
In the triumphant quarter-final series against Zalgiris Kaunas, Sloukas was on strong form averaging 10.3 points, 3.5 rebounds and 5.3 assists, and he will need to continue in the same vein if Fenerbahce are to win the tournament for only the second time in their history.
Famous faces such as Vassilis Spanoulis, Giorgos Printezis and Dimitris Diamantidis have all qualified for five Final Fours in the EuroLeague.
Full list of leading Greek players in terms of EuroLeague Final Four appearances:
Theodoros Papaloukas, 9 (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013)
Fragiskos Alvertis, 9 (1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2009)
Kostas Sloukas, 6 (2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018)
Vassilis Spanoulis, 5 (2009, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2017)
Giorgos Printezis, 5 (2009, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2017)
Dimitris Diamantidis, 5 (2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012)
Kostas Tsartsaris, 5 (2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012)
Ioannis Bourousis, 5 (2009, 2010, 2014, 2015, 2016)
Panagiotis Giannakis, 5 (1988, 1989, 1990, 1995, 1996)
Panagiotis Fasoulas, 5 (1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1999)