By Kostas Psimoulis & Rafal Juc
Greek 7-footer Giorgos Papagiannis is one of the top prospects in the class of ’97. At the age of 14, while playing for Peristeri under coach Argyris Pedoulakis (the current coach of Panathinaikos), he achieved a remarkable feat becoming the youngest player who ever played in the Greek A1 league. Papagiannis has already played for the Greek youth NT and is going to participate in the following European U-16 championship in Kyiv. He had a successful tournament in Sakarya, Turkey, a couple of months ago, and now he seems ready to take more minutes and curry a much bigger load. Papagiannis didn’t play much in this year’s Greek youth tournament; he left his previous team and decided to begin a search for an American high school. He visited in person many schools and as a result, at the beginning of May, he announced that he’s going to commit at Westtown, Philadelphia
Papagiannis is intimidating from a physical perspective standing around 7-1, having a solid wingspan and quick feet for a player his size ,often though he fails to give his best effort thus at times he looks slow. He has a thin frame which needs to be strengthened while his offensive skill-set needs to be developed too. Right now he’s raw offensively and defensively and he must put in hard work in order to be among the best centers in next year’s high school season. He needs to develop a low-post game and be better on PNR situations; if he manages to have these two aspects embraced he’d be dominant in the next few years. He has good hands and soft touch around the rim however at times he settles for mid-range jumpers, something he has to cut down and convert those touches to shots at the rim. On the defensive end he has shown an ability to challenge shots at the rim (he had 5 blocks per 36 minutes at Sakarya’s tournament, and 4.7 blocks per 36 in the last U-16 championship). He is good rebounder and attacks the offensive glass with purpose, has good timing and a remarkable understanding of angles.
In April he participated in Jordan’s Brand Classic, along with Vassilis Charalampopoulos (’97), in which he showed to scouts around the world a first picture of his skills, his character and potential. Papagiannis has tremendous potential, possesses a strong feel for the game and is skilled enough to be considered among the best prospects in his class. However we haven’t had the chance to watch him throughout a season, due to his travelling, thus our scouting report couldn’t be thoroughly compiled. It remains to be seen if his decision to left Europe and attend an American high school is the quickest way to reach his potential, in any case he’s a player who will keep us occupied in the future.
How was the Jordan Brand Classic game? Did you enjoy it? Was is valuable experience for you?
- It was the best event I have ever been and I took very good experiences.
Why did you decide to continue your career in the US in high schools instead of staying in Europe with your team?
- Because I can combine through that way to follow my dream to participate one day at the highest level which is NBA, but also to be highly educated as well.
Why did you join Westtown High School? What did you like the most about them?
- I had the opportunity to visit some schools in person and I felt very welcome from the Westtown people, particularly from the coach.
When are you going to come over to the US and join your school?
- I should be there before September 10 after I will be done with the national team
Are you going to play this summer with Greece at European Championships U16?
- Yes, I am going to play in the European Championship u16