Player Profiles: Candidates for the Greek NT
- **The full list is here!** - the field has been narrowed down!
Manolis Papamakarios (1980, 6-2, 188, pg, Peristeri): undersized point guard, or better a shooting guard in the body of a point guard. He could be considered for the NT most of all for his attitude, he’s a player who never surrenders, but it’s clear too he has many limits: he can’t keep the team in his hands, and he doesn't always make the right choices. One of the best in his role in defence, very good against the opposing point guard, but he’s a long-shot to deserve an Olympic place. (profile by Gianfranco Bina)
Alexis Papadatos (1976, 6-2, 188, pg, Irakleio Crete): very similar to his former team-mate Papamakarios and not only for the somatic characters. This is his best season ever, 11.8 points in 24.4 minutes, with an amazing 49% from beyond the arc (26/53). He belongs to this category of Greek players in which you can’t trust, it’s forbidden. “Who is this one, who can’t pass the 6 feet and who didn’t shave his beard for the last five days?” (this one of the beard is a characteristic of the 85% of the masculine population of Greece…): you wait for the three turnovers in three possessions while Papadatos scores 3/3 three pointers. This is Papadatos, a player that could help in a way, accepting the “DNP” or the three minutes in which he has to scores two downtown bombs or to behead the opposing point guard. More useful than one the three point guards that Ioannidis had with him at Eurobasket 2003… (profile by Gianfranco Bina)
Mihalis Pelekanos (1981, 6-6, 198, sg, Peristeri): maybe the biggest Greek talent in shooting guard, a talent killed by his own nature. Very generous person, very shy guy, he’s not bad enough to become a detriment on court. He should decide the games, he should be absolutely unstoppable and the opponents should change their game-style against him. The truth is that Mihalis is the one who adapts himself to the game and to the other team: for his technical skill, his defensive attitude (do you remember his man-to-man against Dejan Bodiroga?), his athletics he would have been pure NBA material: he’s just 22 years old, he can still learn becoming a mature player, when he will understand that no-one can stop him. Olympic Games? In Beijing (2008). (profile by Gianfranco Bina)
Thodoris Papaloukas 27 1.98/6-6 PG CSKA Moscow: Papaloukas one of the fastest PGs in Greece became the starting PG for the NT in 2001 but in both Eurobaskets he was a total failure. His experience though is very important but his place on the roster is not guaranteed anymore with the rise of younger PGs like Spanoulis. (profile by Hagakure)
Nikos Hatzivretas 27 1.95/6-5 SG Panathinaikos: After one year in Russia with CSKA, he returned this year to Greece for Panathinaikos. Hatzivretas who 2 years ago became the first Greek player since Galis to lead the national league in scoring, had an awful game against Italy at the last Eurobasket, but remains the most reliable SG in Greece. (profile by Hagakure)
Dimitris Diamantidis 24 1.94/6-5 PG Iraklis: Diamantidis, the Greek Jason Kidd, aka the "Octopus-man" because of his long arms that help him in every aspect of his game has been the last 2 years the best PG in Greece. His inability to shoot though makes him rather useless in a half-court offense. Still needs experience, but his talent as well as his potential secure him a spot on the team. (profile by Hagakure)
Christos Harisis 27 1.89/6-3 PG Olympiakos: Harisis who was a last minute addition to the team last summer, became the team’s hero outplaying the other two PGs and scoring the buzzer beater against Croatia. Harisis, who has been suffering lately because of some problems with his respiratory system that don’t allow him to play more 8 minutes in a row is known for his hard-nosed defense and of course for his buzzer-beaters, something he is an expert at. (profile by Hagakure)
Giorgos Sigalas 33 2.00/6-7 SG Makedonikos: Captain of the NT, Giorgos Sigalas also known as “Rambo”, is one of the Last Mohicans of Greek basketball and the only remaining member of the team with Giannakis, Fasoulas and Christodoulou. His production the last few years has dropped dramatically, not only because of age but also because he is playing out of position at the 3. He becomes a different man when he joins the NT though. This is probably the last time he will play with the NT and he probably wants to leave with an Olympic medal. (profile by Hagakure)
Mihalis Kakiouzis (1976, 6-9, 206, sf-sg, Montepaschi Siena): classical all around player, he can play both positions in forward. Actually in Siena he plays as pf, while during his experience with AEK Athens was normally used in sf. Carlo Recalcati, coach of Montepaschi, is slightly unfair against Mihalis, one of the best five Greek players, giving him only 20.7 minutes per game in the Italian championship. He deserves to be a starter (while Recalcati prefers Mindaugas Zukauskas in small forward and David Andersen in power forward), his contract will expire during the summer 2004: the common hope is that Kakiouzis will leave this team, coming back in a top level Greek club. He must be in the national team, Mihalis is a presence, a pure match winner, one of the most useful players of the whole Old Continent: impressive in rebounding, great in defence against each kind of player (Ivkovic when was coach of AEK normally used him against point guards like Elmer Bennet, Byron Dinkins, Petar Naumoski, David Rivers), a terrific buzzer-beater scorer. It’s still a mystery what coach Ioannidis thinks about him: Kakiouzis went to Sweden but was the 12th player of the roster (while useless Papanikolaou and Alvertis were the starters in small forward): Kakiouzis has to be a key player at the Olympic Games, Coach Ioannidis please wake up! (profile by Gianfranco Bina)
Mihalis Kakiouzis 28 2.06/6-9 SF Siena: Mihalis who recently got married and is probably the smartest player without the ball in Europe, was the team’s 12th player in Sweden which made a lot of people question Ioannidis’ game plan. One of the most consistent Greek players, who always work hard and get better, plays out of position at the 4, in Italy with Siena has some problems when he plays inside because of his lack of weight, but is also one of the most reliable scorers on the team. It will be very unfair if he’s not on the team this summer. (profile by Hagakure)
Giorgos Karagkoutis (1976, 6-10, 208, pf-c, Telestet Marousi): he’s having is best season since the tragic adventure he had with Panathinaikos (1999-2000). 7.1 points and 3.9 rebounds in 16.9 minutes aren’t the stats of superstar but during the season Giorgos has shown something that becomes from his glorious past: we’re talking about a player who has been included in the “Greek starting five of the year” for the season 1995-96, when Karagkoutis was considered one of the thousands of “New Tony Kukoc” of Europe. He didn’t become a Toni Kukoc but an Alexander Cubrilo, and he has never played at the same levels of his season with Panionios. Panathinaikos signed him (“the new Kukoc”) and with the Greens Karagkoutis became the 14th man of the roster. He had three difficult season with Iraklis (2) and Near East, this year with Marousi he’s not a key player but there’s something in him coming from this far past… his talent is clear, but it’s clear too that he didn’t change, his attitude is still missing. He’s not an international player, but some absences could bring him to the Olympic games. Well, if Rentzias and Papanikolaou probably will play in the greatest sport event, why couldn’t a Karagkoutis keep this dream, ha? (profile by Gianfranco Bina)
Fragiskos Alvertis: born: 11/7/1974, Height: 2.06 cm (Panathinaikos): When he was first signed for the Greens back in 1990 and during a training session Argiris Pedoulakis, (then teammate and now coach of Peristeri) after checking him, said: “Look kiddo... make sure you make your three-pointers otherwise, you'll starve!!!”
Ever since then, a lot of water has run under the bridge and “Franky” has ever since, been making his “3’s”. Probably Greece’s best shooter and one of Europe’s sharpest snipers during the 90’s and 00’s, he has experienced all of Panathinaikos’ glory years winning 5 League Titles, 3 Greek Cups, 3 Euroleagues and 1 Intercontinental Trophy. His long distance shooting is so good that when Dino Radja was once asked which other attributes he would like to have in his game; he was quoted as saying: “I wish I could shoot like Alvertis.”
He is currently the captain of Panathinaikos and is in his 14th season with the club. If anything, he is synonymous with success. He is also PAO’s all time top-scorer in A1 and is in the top- ten players of games played as well. Apart from his shooting qualities, he is complimented for his leadership skills and for giving 100% every time he sets foot on the court. His body has never helped him develop an all-round game, but he has given a hard night or two, to some of Europe’s best attacking players defensively. He has featured most of his career in the SF position, but has been playing mainly at PF in the last two seasons since the “shamrocks” no longer have the “7-footer’s” they possessed in the recent past.
He has never really been one of the “big guns” of the team but would many a time come off the bench and with consecutive “3- pointers” turn games on their head when it seemed the “Greens” were dead and buried. He also takes great pride playing for the National Team as well, where he has featured in 135 games with an average of about ten points.
A fan favorite, who always looks to the stands either for inspiration or to gesture to the fans to shout louder, was once asked in an interview what he would have he done if he didn't become a basketballer, he dryly replied: “I would bang the drum in Gate 13.”
In his spare time, he's a keen hunter and fisherman and also likes to draw cartoon sketches. He is happily married and has one daughter. (profile by Stratos Prokopiou)
Fragiskos Alvertis 30 2.06/6-9 SF Panathinaikos: Alvertis, one of the "smoothest" shooters in Europe the last 10 years is the team’s co-captain. Alvertis, who is also the president of the union of Greek basketball players (and basketball players who live in Greece), had an awful game against Italy last summer, just like Hatzivretas, but no one questions his commitment to the team and it will be a (rather huge) surprise if he’s not one of Ioannidis’ 12 picks. (profile by Hagakure)
Antonis Fotsis 23 2.11/6-11 SF/PF Real Madrid: Antonis, the first, born in Greece player who played in the NBA combines excellent athleticism and excellent shooting but his lack of focus and his immaturity have kept him from becoming a super player. Has all the talent in the world and is a joy to watch with his amazing dunks but still needs time to reach his full potential, something that many experts believe will never happen as long as he plays at the 4. (profile by Hagakure)
Efthimis Rentzias 28 2.13 /7 PF Ulker: Rentzias, once the Greek Superman, didn’t have the development everyone expected him to have. He’s still a reliable shooter from outside but his lack of toughness makes it difficult for him to fight inside. This year he has been very disappointing which has put his place on the team in danger. (profile by Hagakure)
Dimitris Papanikolaou 27 1.99/6-7 SF Panathinaikos: Papanikolaou who was once called the next Christodoulou and one of the greatest hopes of Greek basketball, has failed to live up to the expectations, but he still gets his chances with the NT. This year playing for Obradovic at Panathinaikos has spent most of his time on the bench which makes it rather unlikely for him to be on the team (especially if you consider the competition at these positions), unless there are dramatic changes until the summer. (profile by Hagakure)
Dimos Dikoudis 27 2.06/6-8 PF Valencia: Dimos who was the team’s best player last summer, has established himself the last few years as the best Greek basketball player. Reliable both on the offensive end and the defensive end, can be effective both inside and outside shooting 3s. Ioannidis has said that he wants "palikaria" like Dikoudis on the team (palikari is the Greek word for very brave man) which shows the amount of respect he has for Dikoudis. (profile by Hagakure)
(For more on Dikoudis, read our Greek Prospects page).
Sofoklis Shortsianitis (1985, 6-7, 203, c, Oregon Cantù): Ilias Armenis three years ago when Sofoklis made his debut in the Greek A1 declared after the game this guy would have been in the Olympic squad. Well, this won’t happen, because the Sofoklis’ season is a disaster. Shortsianitis, who’s just 19-years-old, suffered the low consideration at the draft 2003 (picked with the #34 by the Los Angeles Clippers) accusing his former team, Iraklis Thessaloniki, of being responsible of that. But Shortsianitis wasn’t dominant even at the Junior World Championship, where favourite Greece won only the bronze medal. He couldn’t play competitive basketball till autumn, when FIBA decided his contract with Iraklis didn’t worth anymore and signed with Oregon Cantù. An interesting debut (16 points in 21 minutes) against Messina, the following game he had to come back to the pit-stops for a sprained ankle. These 16 points are still his season-high, he’s averaging 5.2 points in 13.1 minutes: nothing for a player considered a sure protagonist of the Italian league. He has to work a lot next summer, but not with the national team: he has to recover a decorous condition (he passed the 320 lbs mark!), than he will be able to come back to play basketball. Actually he looks like more a clown than a drafted player… (profile by Gianfranco Bina)
(For more on Sofoklis, read our Greek Prospects page).
Jake Tsakalidis 26 2.17 7-2 C Memphis Grizzlies: Tsakalidis who first came to Greece after the collapse of the Soviet Union hoping to find a new home, began his athletic career as a swimmer but soon had to convert to basketball because of his enormous height. His friendship with Ioannidis who was the first coach to make him a starter with AEK made him return to the NT last summer, hoping he could win a medal with the Greek Olympic team. His lack of basketball instincts shows on the court many times, but his height can be very useful especially for defensive purposes. (profile by Hagakure)
Lazaros Papadopoulos (1980, 6'11", 211 lbs, C): Lazaros started his career at a young age at Iraklis. 2001 he was signed by Euroleague powerhouse Panathinaikos, to replace Zeljko Rebraca. Things didn’t go that well even though he had some fantastic games at the Euroleague F-4 helping PAO to win the Euroleague 2002. This season he returned to the team that brought him up, Iraklis. “Lazos” as he is called, is strictly a post player, has an excellent back to the basket game and likes to play physical. Uses either hand to score with a very reliable baby hook shot. Posseses excellent passing skills. His biggest weaknesses is that he lacks speed and looks lost at times. (profile by Thanassis Gousgounis).
Full list of players in consideration for the Greek National Team (Player's name, club):
Nestoras Kommatos, Aris