SPORTS

Coach Ioannidis prefers players who can perform well in more than one position

Yiannis Ioannidis, coach of the national men’s basketball team, had a tough job choosing the final squad for the European Championships. In the end, Ioannidis had to sacrifice one of his favorite players, forward Costas Tsartsaris, in order to add a third point guard. Tsartsaris combins height (2.09 meters) with an ability to shoot from the outside as well as to rebound that makes him very dangerous as either a small or power forward. However, Ioannidis preferred to add point guard Christos Harissis to the squad because this position is even more crucial in any game. Point guards usually take the brunt of an opponent’s defensive pressure and the team cannot afford to find itself short of a guard in case any one of them is injured. Ironically, Harissis himself was recently injured but Ioannidis values his explosiveness and ability to beat zone defenses with his outside shot. As it is, Greece now has Theodoros Papaloukas, Dimitris Diamantidis and Harissis at point guard. Nikos Hadzivrettas is the only pure shooting guard but this role can easily be taken up either by Harissis or small forwards Giorgos Sigalas, Frangiskos Alvertis and Dimitris Papanikolaou. The 2.08-meter Antonis Fotsis is also primarily a small forward, but he, along with Alvertis and Papanikolaou, can also play power forward. Michalis Kakiouzis can also play both forward positions, while Dimos Dikoudis is the team’s one pure power forward. Seven-foot (2.13-meter) Efthymis Rentzias can play as both power forward and center, while 2.18-meter Iakovos Tsakalidis, of the Phoenix Suns, is the one true center.