SPORTS

Kostas Koufos’s star on the rise

Kostas Koufos is becoming better and stronger from game to game with his NBA club, the Utah Jazz, in the pre-season summer league games. The Greek-American center, who was picked Number 23 in the NBA draft a few weeks ago by the Jazz, is now shining in the friendly games his side has been playing in the US against various opponents. In one of the friendlies this week, the Utah Jazz beat – by 82 points to 57 – the national team of Iran, which is preparing for the Olympic Games, with Koufos playing for 17 minutes. He made four points and five rebounds. Then on Thursday evening (local time) Koufos played for 22 minutes and scored nine points for his team, which defeated the Atlanta Hawks 83-78. He also grabbed six rebounds. «Day by day, I feel better and better. I am trying to improve myself and I think I am doing that. You can always get better,» said Koufos at the end of the game. Jazz star player Deron Williams said about Koufos: «He is just 19 years old. I do not know how much he can help this year but anyone can see how talented he is.» The Greek international with the junior teams put an impressive stop to the Hawks’ Luke Jackson, who was about to dunk the ball, an effort that the Utah Jazz official website branded «epic.» In Greece, there had been reports this week that Koufos sustained a knee injury during the game with Iran and would not be able to join to the national Under-20 team. But as he has featured in another friendly since then, those reports do not seem to be accurate. It is possible that the Jazz is reluctant to let the player come to Greece to join the junior national team, despite the fact that the player has expressed his desire to do so.