Yesterday, we found out that Greek 7-footer Georgios Papagiannis is still considering playing basketball in the States this upcoming season and Kentucky is on his short list. Papagiannis told Draft Express at the U19 World Championships in Crete that UK is one of three schools he’s interested in, along with NC State and St. John’s. He told Sports Illustrated’s Luke Winn that Oregon is also in the mix.
With a decision expected VERY SOON, here are six things you need to know about the player we will now refer to Big Papa…
He got off to a strong start in the U19 World Championships
Papagiannis is averaging 11 points, 11.7 rebounds, and 4.7 blocks over three games in the U19 World Championships, and got off to a hot start against Korea, scoring 16 points, bringing down 16 rebounds, and blocking five shots. He was a perfect 8/8 from the floor and is averaging 68% shooting for the tournament.
Against Serbia, he threw down this impressive dunk:
His dad wants him to go to the States
Although Papagiannis insists he’s still torn over staying in Greece for another year or coming to the States for college basketball, his father wants him to head overseas. Papagiannis actually spent his junior year of high school at Westtown School in Pennsylvania, and his dad told Luke Winn that he wants his son to continue to play with guys his age to showcase his potential instead of being buried among grown men in the Euro pro leagues.
Eligibility won’t be a concern
Last summer, Papagiannis played with the Greek club team Panathinaikos, but he signed an amateur deal that will allow him to retain his eligibility in case he wants to play college basketball in the States. Sorry, NCAA, this is not Enes 2.0.
Do we need to worry about Slice?
St. John’s has been in the running for Papagiannis for a while now and could really use him now that big man Chris Obekpa transferred. And we know our man Slice could sell a ketchup popsicle to a woman in white gloves. Will this be the first recruit we could lose to our former assistant?
Another battle with Oregon
Papagiannis is rooming with Oregon signee Tyler Dorsey at the U19s, and Dorsey is doing his best to persuade the big man to come back to Eugene with him. Interestingly, Winn reports that when the Oregon basketball staff visited Papagiannis in Athens a few months back, they realized Dorsey had some Greek blood in him and rushed to get him on the Greek National Team. In fact, Dorsey only got clearance from FIBA the day before the tournament started. And now he’s rooming with Papagiannis and whispering Nike sweet nothings in his ear. If that’s not blatant recruiting, I don’t know what is. Even Calipari is tipping his hat to Dana Altman a little bit there.
His birthday is Friday
Papagiannis says he wants to make a decision about his future very soon, possibly by the time the U19 World Championship ends on July 5. Friday, July 3rd is his birthday…that sounds like the perfect day to announce to me.