Greece Introduces Basketball World To Spiderman

23 August 2008

The Termosteps U16 European Championship Men has not been a huge success for Greece.

The blue and white will play in the 9-12 classification games after winning two games and losing four, but their most remembered contribution to these games would be the exposure of Linos-Spyridon Chrysikopoulos to basketball world.

The late 1992 (December 1st) born is officially listed as 203cm but his coach Nikos Toufas claims he's even three centimeters taller.

I don't know many classic point guards in the competition that has the ball handling as him.
Nikos Toufas
Greece Coach
What he does on the court can be described in one simple word - everything.

"He can play any position from 1 to 5," says Coach Toufas and Chrysikopoulos proves him right.

It's not only his tallness but mostly his length.

Linos' wing span is impossible to miss, and it would be nothing but natural if "Spiderman" would catch on as Spyridon's nickname.

That helps him to be very intimidating on defense where he can block and steal balls people with a normal wing span can't reach.

On offense he shows his speciality with great ball handling and court vision that allows him to play also as a point guard.

"I don't know many classic point guards in the competition that has the ball handling as him," adds Coach Toufas.

In a special interview to Chrysikopoulos told a little bit about his history and life on the court.

He was born and raised in Corfu, a Greek island in the north of Greece, not too far from Albania.

"My parents noticed my length so at age 10 they sent me to start playing basketball," says the young talent, but in an Island of around 100,000 people the basketball infrastructure, obviously, isn't the best to find.

Not too long ago he was noticed by scouts of powerhouse Aris Thessaloniki and moved over there.

Coach Toufas starts his count only from then.

"Until several months ago he wasn't on a real basketball program with coaches who can teach him the game at the highest level.

"Basically what he shows here is pure raw talent from a few months of learning the game," he claims and to say it's impressive would be an under-statement.

If you need the numbers then so far he has averaged 13.5 ppg on almost 50% from close range and a little over 30% from distance.

On top of that are 6.7 rpg, 1.3 spg and 1.0 bpg in only 23.7 mpg.

Only in a single game he didn't reach double-digits and in the last game against Spain he brought his team very close to the win with an 18 points, 16 rebounds and two blocks performance.

"We are still young and that's why we have lots of ups and downs during the game and between games," he says as he tries to explain his team's absence from the top eight.

When asked what he likes to do best on court he's about to answer but in the last second stops, looks at his coach and replies like an obedient soldier "Whatever Coach asks me to do,"

Pushed against the wall he lines up with coach Toufas and says he likes to play the center on defense but the point guard on offense.

"I enjoy best to create situations and pass an assist for my team-mates," he adds.

If a very tall Greek point guard sounds too familiar it's for a good reason.

Thedoros Papaloukas and Dimitrios Diamantidis jump to mind as proto-types and role-models and it's no coincidence.

"My favorite player is Papaloukas," he admits despite his game style reminds much more of the best defensive player in Europe - Diamantidis.

While the last was a late bloomer, almost didn't play in a Youth competition and until not so long ago wasn't an offensive threat at all, his possible successor is different.

He will post up shorter defenders or will try to shoot over them from behind the arc where he already enjoys decent success.

In front of a big guy he will put he ball on the floor and slash to the rim.

All this talent still demands a lot of finesse resulted by hard and long work, but it's certainly there.

If the Spiderman will continue to follow the voice of his coaches, stay humble and keep working hard on his raw talent two groups will benefit from it as European and Greek basketball will have another great player.



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