6-8 forward Ioannis Papapetrou started 25 of the 34 games that he played in as a freshman for Texas this past season, posting averages of 8.3 points and 4.4 rebounds per contest.
In a season that was uneven for the Texas program as a whole (16-18 overall record) the same could be said for Papapetrou, who would show flashes of the potential needed to be a key factor for the Longhorns on one night and then struggling the next.
With that in mind a summer playing for Greece’s Under-20 national team served to benefit Papapetrou, as he would take on some of the continent’s young talent in the Under-20 European Championships. Papapetrou led Greece to a fifth place finish, posting averages of 15.9 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.
While those numbers likely caught the attention of Texas head coach Rick Barnes, they apparently caught the attention of one of Greece’s most successful professional teams as well.
According to a report from gazetta.gr, two-time defending Euroleague champion Olympiakos B.C. has offered Papapetrou a five-year contract thought to be worth in upwards of $1 million (the page is in Greek, so a program like Google Translator works well). With that kind of money on the table there’s a strong chance that Papapetrou goes pro, right?
Not exactly, according to Jeffrey Haley of Burnt Orange Nation:
Additionally, Papapetrou reinforced this message during an interview with Greek media. While the interview is in Greek, I was told that the key quotation from Papapetrou roughly translates to:
I have already booked my ticket and my first priority is to get back to Texas. My dream is to be drafted some day, and I consider Texas the best way to make my dream true. I really want to graduate (Sports Marketing), but you can never know if I will stay for the whole 4 years in college. I am aware of Olympiakos’ interest, actually they have already contacted to my family-not to me personally due to college restrictions, but I always put Texas first on the list.
Texas has just one upperclassman (junior forward Jonathan Holmes) on its roster for the 2013-14 season, so they’re going to be young regardless of his decision.
But having lost their top three scorers from last season (Myck Kabongo, who was suspended for most of the season, went pro and both Julien Lewis and Shelden McClellan decided to transfer) Texas can ill afford to lose Papapetrou, especially at this stage in the offseason.
Based on the reports it seems as if Papapetrou is focused on returning to Austin and helping the Longhorns in their quest to improve on last year’s showing, and that’s good news for the fans on the 40 Acres.
Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.