SPORTS

Hoopster follows his club from the bottom to the top division

When Dimitris Menoudakos started playing basketball as a teenager at his local AE Nea Kifissia, in the last tier of the Athens amateur league, ESKA D, he would never imagine that one day he would feature in the country’s top flight the A1 with the very same team, having climbed the whole division ladder with the northern Athens club.

The career of the 30-year-old now spans across a record eight divisions with the same club, as on Sunday evening Nea Kifissia in its first ever home game in the top flight played him for about two minutes at the Zirinio court.

Menoudakos has followed the meteoric rise of the Kifissia team, but conceded to the league’s official website that it was never his dream to play in the A1.

“I never saw basketball in professional terms. I had other targets in my life, my studies, my job and so on. The funny thing is that this came as I went along. Without planning for it, year after year, I have found myself here and it is an honor for me to rub shoulders with the best players in Greek basketball in the A1,” stated Menoudakos.

His record did not come on a happy day for Nea Kifissia, as it suffered a 94-85 home reverse to KAO Dramas. This will be a setback in its effort to stay up in its maiden season in the A1. “It was a very bad loss at our home court,” admitted Menoudakos.

Besides KAOD’s win, the biggest victory of the second round of games in the A1 was the away win of PAOK at Aris with a 79-75 score in overtime, to avenge its home loss to its crosstown rival in the Greek Cup a few days earlier.

Just like PAOK, AGO Rethymnou scored an important second win in the league, beating Kolossos 76-66 on Rhodes. PAOK and AGOR share the top spot with Panionios who downed visiting Trikala 69-62 at Nea Smyrni.

Olympiakos also scored its second win of the season, thrashing host Ilisiakos 78-57 at Zografou, but lies 10th as it started the season with minus two points.

Panathinaikos recovered from its losses to Olympiakos and Lietuvos Rytas last week to register a new defensive record in its 74-35 home win over Panelefsiniakos. The game on Monday marked the debut of Chinese center Shang Ping, the first ever player from China in the Greek league.

Finally, in its first game at its new home at Halkida, central Greece, Ikaros (formerly of Kallithea) saw off Apollon Patras 72-64.