Going Greek

Going Greek

In this ongoing series of profiling young men at UD who play basketball for the sole purpose of furthering their educational opportunities, I made a steadfast commitment to stay under 1000 words during the profile. This was the only profile where I became rather concerned that I would not fill the page. I give you Kostas Antetokounmpo.

Now that you have indeed verified that I am intelligent enough to correctly spell his last name you can absolutely count on me not typing it for the rest of the season for obvious reasons. While we’re on the topic of nomenclature, let’s start the same way we did with the Matej piece, by learning:

Kostas is a 6-10, 195 lb (yikes!) redshirt freshman power-forward from Athens, Greece. You are already well aware of his older brother Giannis, the super-duper megastar who is both cool and fun to watch play basketball, and they are 2 of the 5 brothers in the family of Greek immigrants originally from Nigeria (they have one older brother that never immigrated to Greece) . Thanasis, Giannis, Kostas and Alexis (ordered from oldest to youngest) all hail from Athens, and while they did spend most of the summer training in Greece, these days you’re more likely to find Kostas splitting time between Dayton and Milwaukee, where his older brother recently purchased a big ol’ Wisconsin home. Kostas played high school hoops at Dominican High School, just north of Milwaukee in the wealthy suburb of Whitefish Bay.

While this article is fairly dated, the National Basketball Players Association did a great interview last spring where Giannis talked about his connection with his brothers, you can find that here. Its one of the many pieces that have been done on Giannis that indirectly/directly address Kostas and the close relationship the brothers hold.

Fun fact: Kostas is one of the most common names for Greek men, derived from Constantine, and it comes from the Latin word “constans” meaning constant and steadfast. Let’s hope this lanky bastard’s name will be a literal translation of what we’re going to see on the court from him this year.

Obvious things first: Kostas is built like a wacky-waving-inflatable-arm-flailing-tube man. Oh, you don’t know what those are? No problem, your old pal Sully has you covered:

His length is honestly hard to believe until you see it in person. He has a 7’2″ wingspan and is reportedly still growing, which is kind of frightening to think about. He averaged 12.9 pts, 7.1 reb and an impressive 2.4 blocks per game in his senior year of HS, while shooting 63% from the floor en route to a state championship. Instead of listing all his highlight tapes like I have in previous articles, I’ll just link you here and let you peruse at your leisure.

I will highlight one video specifically, solely for the spectacle of watching these high school shmucks get their shit smacked into the floor or the third row when attempting a shot.

You can find a draft room profile of Kostas here, which is just about the most complete piece I’ve seen on his overall ability.

This particular profile hits on most of the aspects we know about Kostas:

1. He’s crazy long and athletic, and his flailing-limb drives to the hoop resemble that of his older brother
2. He has an unpolished game that still needs work (no big deal, he’s only 19)
3. He’s not a shooter
4. His length will make him a true shot blocking threat on the defensive end, and his size hasn’t compromised his perimeter defense
5. He needs to put on some goddamn weight, man!

So what should we expect?

This is the million-dollar question that we have now had about 16 months to stew over since his signing with UD on July 6, 2016. In the time that I have followed this program I cannot ever remember a player starting his first game with such lofty expectations, especially in this unique case where those expectations were formed off the performance of his electrifying, NBA-All-Star sibling, Giannis. If you didn’t know, Giannis is the best and most fun player to watch in the universe — this was recently proven factual by science. Kostas may very well end up being the exact replica of his brother that UD fans are hoping for, BUT (brace yourself) he could also turn out to be more similar to his oldest brother Thanasis, who now averages 8 pts and 4 rebounds per game for his club in Spain’s top league. If it does end up being the latter, Kostas will still be a damn fine player in the Atlantic 10 conference, the question really is whether or not UD stumbled upon a superstar. When trying to decide what side of the fence I’m on regarding these types of issues I always come back to one question that will continue to be relevant: If he really is a legit young boy superstar that can play in the league one day, why the hell did he end up at Dayton? Also worth wondering why he wasn’t more sought after as a recruit in general.

While I do not personally know the answers to these questions, I’m damn happy Kostas is in a UD uniform and find myself weighing the possibilities of him and Matej contributing immediately, playing havoc on the A10 and stealing all the women off VCU’s campus. This brings me conveniently to the last point of our current team.

One of the main drivers of Flyer Nation’s optimism for Kostas is the real need for him to be good RIGHT NOW. Noted good dude, and friend of the blog, David Jablonski put out a great article on DDN today that shed light on the fact that UD has not had a freshman average double digits in nine full seasons. That will need to change. If some combination of Matej/Jordan²/Crutcher or Kostas isn’t hovering around an average of 7 to 10 points a night, where exactly will UD’s production come from? More than ever, the need for freshman to make an impact is upon us, and they should have plenty of opportunities to do so with a 10-man rotation. With that said, in the unlikely event that none of these freshmen make a healthy impact on the score sheet, it will cause sincere worry regarding the outcome of the season.

If Kostas is even half as fun to watch as the older Greek Freak, we will be in for a hell of a season.

Last thing I didn’t want to mention but can’t avoid: Kostas was injured in a FIBA game in Greece in July, everything I have heard from multiple sources tells me he will be ready to go on opening night, but I would not be surprised if his minutes were limited to begin the year.

All the freshman should have your full attention for the exhibition on November 4th, the training wheels come off six days later against Ball State.

Stay LOWD, Be Normal.

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The LOWD ambassador of Chicago, Sully has spent his life tirelessly watching UD hoops. Welcomer of all takes, hot and cold.

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