It’s official, Kostas Antetokounmpo, better known as the Greek Freak’s younger brother, will not be wearing Flyer red and blue this season. Believe it or not, the NCAA took issue with Antetokounmpo’s admittedly sketchy academic record. Kostas was schooled in Africa until his sophomore year of high school, which is going to raise red flags instantaneously in Indianapolis. Apparently attending a school that doubled as a billiards hall during the evening led the NCAA to investigate his academic background with extreme scrutiny and in the end the University of Dayton came up losers.
As a “partial qualifier” Antetokounmpo will have all the privileges of a regular college student, which includes white poison, just not the opportunity to perform the one duty he actually came to Dayton to pursue. (I never understood this term, how do you “partially” qualify and then end up enrolled in a college or university anyway? To be fair, I’ve been “partially” qualified for every job I ever had, so perhaps I shouldn’t throw stones). Kostas is permitted to begin practicing with the team at the start of the school’s second semester, if he so chooses.
It bears repeating that Archie Miller is a fucking coaching outlaw. He’s a risk-inclined man that has tried to take in more troubled black male teenagers than Jeffrey Dahmer — often with similar results. Kostas Antetokounmpo, Steve McElvene and Detwon Rogers were players with questionable academics profiles that Miller nonetheless rolled the dice on. When you consider that Archie certainly put his neck on the line in allowing Dyshawn Pierre and Matt Kavanaugh to return to the program after sexual assault accusations, it’s abundantly evident that our guy likes to play things fast and loose. (This is one of the few times being a mid-major program, out of the burning spotlight of the media, was advantageous. I can’t imagine a school like Kentucky or UCLA could have seamlessly readmitted Pierre and Kav after their alleged indiscretions, not in this current climate of “rape culture” hysteria).
The NCAA’s decision leaves Antetokounmpo with plenty of opportunities and divergent paths for his future. He is the rare 18 year old with a cavalcade of both academic and financial options. For starters, he could choose to stay in the Gem City, begin work on his Discover Arts degree and gain the necessary weight that will surely be added during the upcoming Midwestern winter. Kostas could return next season, four years of eligibility intact, hungry to feast on mid-major opposition.
Antetokounmpo could also completely abandon ship, head back to Milwaukee to live off his brother’s payroll and re-open his recruitment. This “gap year” would allow him to work on his game without the tortious interference that is American academia. In addition, his NBA2K skills would no doubt be sharp and he could live the life of luxury that comes with riding your rich brother’s coattails. Personally, I would saunter down this road if I had Kostas’ opportunities.
The last option might be the most attractive for Mr. Antetokounmpo. He has repeatedly voiced his intent to play in the NBA as soon as possible (which makes his enrollment at UD even more of a head-scratcher) in order to receive just compensated for his labor. With that in mind, his most desirable route may be to forget about college altogether, head over to Greece (which has one of the most competitively, and economically, rewarding pro leagues in Europe) and start his professional career immediately. Playing overseas would have the dual advantage of (a) getting paid to ball and (b) building a resume against competition that is superior to the Atlantic Ten. Both positives in my book.
Whatever Antetokounmpo chooses to do, it clearly won’t have an effect on Dayton’s hopes this season. The Flyers must move on and prepare for a year with depleted depth in the frontcourt. With Antetokounmpo out of the picture, the onus falls squarely on Kendall Pollard and Josh Cunningham to provide UD with improved production up front.