Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
7-Footer Georgios Papagiannis Being Touted as Lottery Pick
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His name is Georgios Papagiannis and his coach believes he could be a lottery pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.
“I think his upside quite frankly is a top five, one-and-done, 2016 pick,” Westtown (Pa.) coach Seth Berger told SNY.tv of the 7-foot-1 native of Amarousio, Greece.
Papagiannis’ father played professionally in Greece, so he has good genes. He’s currently averaging about 15 points and 9 rebounds for Westtown, which plays this weekend in the Under Armour Holiday Classic in San Diego.
“He’s a really unique player,” Berger said. “He’s 7-1, 250 pounds. Incredibly coordinated. Jumps well, shoots well, dribbles well, passes well, has really good post work and he just turned 16 in July.”
Berger added: “Usually kids this size, this young, can’t run up and down the court. Forget he catches alley-oops and can reverse them. He’s got a super-high basketball IQ, incredibly motivated. And he’s really smart.
“His weaknesses are on the defensive end he needs to be able to grab rebounds out of his area and he needs to stay out of foul trouble. But when he wants to, he’s a great rim protector.”
Berger is not handling the big man’s recruiting process, but sources said Maryland, Penn State, Villanova, St. Joe’s and La Salle are some of the teams involved for his services.
“Georgios can go wherever he wants to go,” Berger said. “He’s the kind of guy you build a program around and try to get to a Final Four.
“It’s very much up in the air,” one assistant coach involved in the recruiting process told SNY.tv.
It’s also unclear how Papagiannis future will play out. He could spent this year and next year at Westtown, go to college in 2015 and then potentially be ready for the 2016 Draft.
Or he could return to Greece sometime after this season, play there and then head to the NBA from Greece.
“He has a skillset and package you don’t see often,” the college assistant said. “He’s big, he’s mobile, he has a good IQ. He just needs to mature.”
Added Berger: “If he puts 15 pounds on his upper body, he’s going to be great.”
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.