"Maccabi may be winning, but I don't feel as if I'm making a contribution," Maccabi Tel Aviv guard Will Solomon said ahead of the Euroleague champion's match day two road game at Olympiakos Athens tonight.
"Every player has his ups and downs and I'm a bit down at the moment, but I hope that in Greece I will start to get back into shape," said Solomon, who is trying to step into the illustrious shoes of Sarunas Jasikevicius, who, after leading Maccabi to back-to-back Euroleague crowns left for the Indiana Pacers of the NBA over the summer.
Solomon's heartfelt sentiments may be commendable, but his play in the start to this season has been a lot less so. Solomon had a poor outing against Sopot in match day one last week, scoring only seven points, and in the league he has averaged 15 points on only 52 percent from the field and 26 percent from the 3-point range.
Maccabi, though, is 4-0 and Solomon is generous in his praise of his new teammates. "Maccabi is a great team. Look, I'm not playing so well and we still win by 25 points."
Maccabi won't expect to win by 25 points in Athens tonight, even if Solomon, a Champions Cup winner with Aris Thesalonika in 2002/3 and a ULEB Cup winner with Hapoel Jerusalem the following year, play his best.
Vasilis Papandreous, a sports writer for Greek financial magazine Investor's Weekly who covered Solomon when he played for Aris, says that if Maccabi expects the guard to provide the same kind of service as Jasikevicius it is in for a disappointment.
"Solomon is an excellent player, but he is temperamental. You can't just say to him pass the ball and don't score. I can't understand how Maccabi expects him to replace Jasikevicius. Solomon won't give 14 points and 7 assists in the Euroleague. But either way, I think Maccabi will win easily."
Pana downs CSKA
In yesterday's games Armani Milano defeated Lietuvos Rytas 59-65 in Group B as Massimo Bulleri led the winners with 18 points. In a Group C match in Athens, host Panathinaikos pulled away to a 92-82 win over CSKA as Vassilis Spanoulis starred with 28 points after making 8 of 8 from the field, 2 of 3 triples and 6 of 6 free throws.
Meanwhile, host Prokom Sopot downed Cibona Zagreb 80-64 for its first win in Group B behind 21 points from Goran Jagodnik. Back in Group C, visiting Real Madrid downed Pau-Orthez 50-69 behind the scoring of Igor Rakocevic, while Unicaja defeated visiting Ulker 70-57 as Jorge Garbajosa had 19 points and Daniel Santiago 18.
In the only Group A game, host Climamio blasted AEK 88-55 as Nate Green put up 16 points for the winners.