|1/4 finals of the FIBA World Championship 2006. Greece vs France. (31.08.2006). Photo credits: Castoria / Ciamillio.|
31/08/2006GRE - Sofoklis Schortsanitis : "I'm just big and I know how to use my body"
SAITAMA (FIBA World Championship) - Sofoklis Shorsanitis is young, strong and shows no fear.
The 2.06m, 125-kilogram man mountain has been Greece's huge surprise at the FIBA World Championship.
After terrific games against Turkey, China and France, Sofo is now gearing up for the United States.
If his two-handed jam over Yao Ming is anything to go by, Elton Brand and Team USA's other frontline players will have their hands full when they meet in Friday's semi-final
at the Saitama Super Arena.
"Power, that's what Sofo brings to this team and he's great," said team-mate Dimitris Diamantidis.
The 21-year-old spoke to PA Sport's Cindy Garcia-Bennett on behalf of FIBA about the Sofo impact on Japan.
FIBA: Sofo, you played in the Euroleague with Olympiacos last season but now the competition is even stiffer here in Japan. How has it been playing in your first FIBA World Championship?
Schortsanitis: "It's great, this is a fantastic event, we have amazing teams and great players. I'm just happy to be playing here.
"It's great getting minutes against the best players in the world and this is only going to help me improve in the future. I' m still young and I have a lot of things to do to improve myself and my game."
FIBA: Why do you think you have been so effective?
Schortsanitis: "I'm just big and I know how to use my body."
FIBA: How fortunate do you feel to have joined a team of European champions?
Schortsanitis:"I 'm really exicted and enthusiastic about being with this team. Every time I go on the court I'm just happy no matter what I do, right or wrong, I think enthusiasm is what I give to my team, i just love basketball."
FIBA: Has it been easy to fit into the team?
Schortsanitis: "They are great players in our team, who have experienced. theo was the mvp of the euroleague, foftsis is great , they help me a lot they give me a lot of advice off the court and this helps me a lot for now and the future."
FIBA: You are only 21 years old so there must be aspects to your game that you would like to improve?
Schortsanitis: "I have a lot to improve on. I need to develop an outside shot and come up with more one-on-one steals."
FIBA: Greece beat a French team that has a lot of talent in the quarter-finals.
Schortsanitis: "Defense is our main weapon and we were able to use it against France . I hope that we can have the same performance in the semi-final."
FIBA: Clearly Team USA will present you and Greece with a lot of problems. They have a deep bench and so far, only Italy seriously challenged them. What are your thoughts on facing the Americans?
Schortsanitis: "They are a fantastic team and they have great players. We will have to wait and see until game day. I hope we can go all the way. Against USA, we know we will have to give 100% on defense and hope our offense works."
FIBA: You have already been drafted in the NBA by the Los Angeles Clippers and some people used to call you 'Baby Shaq', do you enjoy being likened to a center who has won NBA titles with the LA Lakers and last season, the Miami Heat?
Schortsanitis: "I'm not Shaq, he has done great things. I'm not complete."
By Cindy Garcia-Bennett