With optimism and faith in his abilities, believing that the position of PAOK’s head coach is a huge challenge and an honor having the chance to build a team from scratch, Kostas Mexas has already started working for the new season. Building the new team of PAOK is not going to be an easy task. However, the motivations is huge. The responsibility as well. Somewhere among back to back meetings, analysis and scheduling for the pre-season and next season, Kostas Mexas talked to www.paokbc.gr about his thoughts for the team, declared to have a full understanding of the level of difficulty this endeavor entails and ready to work hard in order to succeed.
«It’s a great honor and at the same time a great responsibility for me, the fact that PAOK is giving me the opportunity to be the head coach in such a great club. I’m very happy and I sincerely promise to give, both I, as well as my associates on the technical staff, our best for the team to have a much better season and through hard and methodical work to succeed something good», Kostas Mexas said and was very clear:«We want to bring PAOK back where he should be and with the mentality of everyone here I believe we’ll make it».
-What is the difficulty level of this endeavor with PAOK?
«Certainly big. There are too many issues, on many levels that need to be resolved but there is no fear in dealing with the situation. We have a mountain ahead of us that we all need to climb, we have to work hard to succeed and it’s definitely going to be very challenging. Nothings is easy, but nothing is also impossible. There is faith in our strength and skills and through a process of collaboration with everyone that is and is going to be with the team, we’ll be able to surpass of these hardships and succeed in our goals».
-The motivation to build a team from scratch is huge. What kind of team you want to be making and present for next season?
«Our team is going to be made anew, so we have many things to do. I really like an intense game on both ends of the floor. That’s what we are going to be pursuing and the players we are going to be choosing need to be having these characteristics, the talent, the motivation and the chemistry so that we are able to present what we are thinking of. The team is also going to need experience in combination with enthusiasm, but motivation is above all else. We want our team to be balanced and reliable in offense, but first of all in defense».
-Do you agree that the work done in the summer, into building the team, largely determines its course during the season as well?
«It’s very important for a coach to build his team in the summer with the players he has in mind. It’s very positive that we are starting this procedure earlier this season, not as late as the team had to start last summer, but we still are going to need to make a huge effort to make the best possible choices. We don’t have the ability to sign any player we want to, there’s pressure, so our choices need to be value for money. It’s also clear that the job done during the summer, both with recruiting as well as with pre-season, plays the most decisive role into how the team does during the season. Our team’s character is being built during pre-season, it’s very important to be all together from the start, to set the principles and foundations for the team to function correctly in its daily operations during the season».
-The particulars of the pandemic and the long period of inactivity have an impact of the planning of the pre-season?
«I have to say that this had been a very tough period, but both I as well as many more coaches, took advantage of it in order to educate ourselves, we have watched webinars in Greece and abroad, we analyzed the market and all the players and in a theoretical level this procedure benefited us and we certainly got better. Now practically, it’s certain we’ll have to start earlier than what we used to start in past seasons. We’ll have to start at least a week earlier, always in collaboration with the rest of the staff, because we’ll have to be extra cautious in how all the players are going to get back in shape. With the exception of 2 or 3 leagues anyway, the players have been inactive since mid-March. We have faith in the players’ professionalism, we need to make our research on everyone, the necessary control and have all the scientific data so as to be extra careful with the players’ shape at the beginning».
-What’s the message Kostas Mexas wants to send about this new and difficult endeavor?
«It’s going to take a lot of effort from everyone and unity. The team’s situation does not leave room for anything else. Everyone has to do the best they can to help the team and what we can have to do on our part is to always give our best, bleed on the court, bleed everyday at practice and even more at every game, because that’s the only way we can face what lies ahead. We are thinking positively, we give a daily battle and we are moving on…»