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Theodoros Papaloukas, Greece
From Fiba.com: In Greek “Theodoros” means, “Gifted from God”, so his parents must have known something before the rest of us. Five years ago, his career was in limbo when Olympiakos (where he was transferred from Panionios for a record fee) showed him the door after a disastrous season. His agent offered him to CSKA Moscow where Dusan Ivkovic was the coach, and then a new era began for his career.
Last season, after leading the Greek National Team to the 2005 EuroBasket Gold medal in Belgrade, he was selected to the tournament First Team and named the MVP of the final. A few months after, he led CSKA to the Euroleague title, earning the Euroleague 2005-06 season MVP award which he celebrated by waving the national flag of Greece. Just months later he was the key player for Greece in defeating the U.S. National Team and landing in the 2006 FIBA World Championship final. The 30-year-old was named the 2nd best athlete in Greece for 2006 by sports writers, a slight that bothered him more than a little. He was also honoured by FIBA Europe as the 2006 Player of the Year. So for 2007, his target is to become the best of the best in Greece, a spot that might already be reserved for a fellow National Team member Dimitirs Diamantidis, who helped beat CSKA in the 2007 Euroleague final. Papaloukas won the 2002-03, 2003-04, 2004-05 and 2005-06 Russian National Championship and the 2005, 2006 and 2007 Russian National Cup with CSKA Moscow.
One of the biggest thrills of his amazing career was the way that Olympiakos fans welcomed him this season at Peace and Friendship Stadium during a final 16 Euroleague game as more than 15,000 fans gave him a standing ovation These were the same fans who four years earlier had thrown euros at him with his face printed on them, believing that he had left them for money. But the truth was completely different once everybody learned what exactly had happened and their ovation served as an apology.
European champion and MVP of the 2005 EuroBasket final in Belgrade and Euroleague champion and MVP of the Final Four - what else can Theodoros Papaloukas expect in one season? He had a year which would make any of basketball's biggest stars jealous. Theo is undoubtedly the superhero and superstar of the past season - not only in Greece but all of European basketball.
Papaloukas is a tall playmaker (2.00 m) and a
player every coach wants in his lineup. An intellectual player with enormous
abilities, he could surely make an NBA team even though he's already 29 years
old. More mature than ever and filled with loads of confidence, Theo is a player
who makes his teammates better. An assist machine, he can even defend the
opposing team's centre if needed to do so. And Theo loves to steal the ball at
mid-court and dunk it on the fast break
Name: Theodoros Paploukas
Position: Point Guard
Born: May 08, 1977
Origin: Athens, Greece
Website: Interbasket & Papaloukas.net
Teams (jersey): Hellas National Team (4), IEthnikos Ellinoroson, Ampelokipi, Ampelokini, Dafni , Panionios, Olympiakos, CSKA Moscow.
IBN Notes: A cerebral player
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