Promitheas Patras is preparing for a historic night. The Greek team are playing their first European match in a knockout phase of the Basketball Champions League, hosting Iberostar Tenerife. The Spaniards won both the BCL and the Intercontinental Cup in 2017, preceding AEK Athens.
As fate would have it, Promitheas had to go up against both AEK and Tenerife, back-to-back. The first encounter didn’t go down that well for Makis Giatras’team: a tough loss by 83-62 to the “Queen” at OAKA showed that the BCL newcomers have a lot to improve in view of their confrontations with one of the competition’s powerhouses.
Octavius Ellis was one of the few players that stood out on a hard night for Promitheas, totalling 10 points and 7 rebounds. The 25-year-old center ranked 4th in the Greek Basket League in two-point shooting at 71.43 % last year.
About a month after he won the slam-dunk contest at the Greek All-Star Game in Thessaloniki, the rather timid Octavius shares his NBA dreams with TalkBasket.net, recalls his wrongdoings while at Cincinnati and doesn’t worry too much about neither his cousin’s Monta nor his friend’s Kilpatrick comeback to the NBA. They will get their own way, eventually.
Q: What is there to blame for the poor performance of your team against AEK?
A: Some turnovers and a few missed shots. We had some lapses on defense as well, but that’s normal basketball stuff.
Q: Do you think Promitheas is ready to face Tenerife?
A: We’re going to be ready because we play many games every week. Usually, we go back to practice and watch film of our next opponent. We have to get ready soon because days go by fast.
Q: Were you influenced by the almost monthly break because of the All-Star Game and the World Cup qualifiers?
A: No, because everyone was working out and our national team guys were still playing basketball. So, we can’t blame the break for what happened against AEK. We didn’t lose our rhythm.
Q: Have you studied the way Tenerife plays?
A: I know they like to shoot a lot. Spanish teams have good basketball players, good Americans. I think it’s going to be a good game.
Q: I was talking to your guy, Sean Kilpatrick, the other day and he told me that you had to go through a lot of difficult situations before you became a professional. How do you deal with it?
A: I feel well now that I’m a professional athlete and I’m playing in Europe. I had to leave the University of Cincinnati because I beat someone up. Of course, I have regrets about my behaviour, but I was young and this belongs to the past. I grew from it and that’s it.
Q: Do you consider yourself an experienced Promitheas player now that you’re in your second season with the Patras team?
A: Yes, this is my second year but every day you can learn something new. So, I want to say that I’m an experienced player. Coach Giatras knows how to win. Unfortunately, against AEK we got the short end of the stick, but until now we have always bounced back.
Q: Do you believe that the team has handled well the two-games-a-week schedule until now?
A: Yes, many people weren’t expecting us to do so well at the Champions League because we were a new team, but we managed to overcome that. I think we are doing pretty well as a team in our first year at the BCL.
Q: It’s been a long time since we heard about your cousin, Monta Ellis. Last September, he was supposed to join the Minessota Timberwoves. Any news from him?
A: He’s at home chilling. He’s a millionaire, so what else? What could you possibly do? (laughs). I don’t know what happened exactly with the Timberwolves but when you have millions in the bank, you can wait for as long as you want. I’m pretty sure he’s working out, staying in shape and waiting for a call-up or whatever.
Q: How about you? Did you participate in the last Summer League in LA?
A: No, I didn’t because I had some personal stuff going on. But this summer I’m aiming for it. Of course I dream of playing in the NBA, but first I have to finish up strong in Europe and then, after the season, me and my agent will get together and talk about my future.
Q: Do you believe that this year with Promitheas can get you higher?
A: I’m pretty sure it can, but it’s up to me, not up to them. If they want to me to stay, I like it here. I can’t get too excited about my performances.
Q: As far as the excitement goes, Kilpatrick told me that you didn’t say anything after you won the dunk contest in the Greek All-Star Game. Are you always like that?
Α: That’s true. I can’t get too excited about anything. Sean, on the other hand, is a very exciting guy, full of energy. He’s like a king bee.
Q: Do you think he’ll return to the NBA this summer?
A: Of course. I have no doubt about it.