With Euroleague basketball’s Final Four being hosted at London’s O2 Arena this year, we took the opportunity to catch up with Olympiacos Piraeus star Acie Law IV.
Check out the interview below and don’t forget that you can watch all of the Final Four games live on bwin.com and play along for free with our new game 10minutemadness.com.
Some know you as ‘Captain Clutch’ from your college days. How do you train your mind to stay cool under pressure in close game situations?
I just try to make the right basketball play. I do not think it is a matter of training your mind; playing basketball you get in pressure situations and just try to make the right play to help your team win and I have been able to do that a few times in my career.
We got a question from Twitter from @kurama86. In your opinion what is the best quality of the team and where can and should Olympiacos improve?
I think our quality is our speed. I think that we are an undersized ball club at the four and the five positions, I mean, at all positions. Especially going against a team like CSKA I think our advantage is in our speed and that is one thing we want to do is push the tempo, play really fast and make it a lot of possessions. We think the game will play into our favour if we do that. One thing we can improve is trying to take care of the basketball, make smarter decisions and play better basketball.
How do you find the European style of play differs from NBA style or from college?
I think the biggest difference is the spacing. In the NBA they allow the game to be more wide open. There is a three second rule so guys just cannot sit in the lane and zone up. Here in Europe it is more difficult being a one-on-one player because big men will just sit in the lane and wait on you, play zone and there is no penalty for that. I think for me that was the biggest adjustment: adjusting to guys being able to play zone here in Europe.
Another thing that we find is a big difference here is that the fans are crazy and really behind their team. Is that something you notice and really enjoy?
Oh yeah, of course. That to me is kind of like college, it reminds me of college. You know the fans here get behind their team, they are so passionate and you see some crazy stuff as well. We played Panathinaikos and they are throwing flares at each other across the arena. It is a lot of fun. It is a hostile environment but it makes the game that much better and it is a lot of fun to be a part of.
Are you excited for the game coming to London and do you think it is important for the game to spread as far as it can?
Oh of course. Of course you want it to be as big as it possibly can and you know is soccer is big here in London and for us to get the opportunity to come here and potentially expand the game at a great venue like the O2 we think it is a great opportunity and I am very, very excited that our team was able to make it here and be a part of this major event.
Finally, do you have any odd pre-game rituals or anything funny you do before the games?
No, no, I just say a prayer and pray to stay healthy and just have a lot of fun, go out there and try to do my thing.