Welcome Iowa State fans to our preview of Georgios Tsalmpouris (pronounced your-ghos sal-bore-us), the “Colossus of Katerini.”
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Tsalmpouris comes to Iowa State from the town of Katerini, Greece, which is located near the ancient city of Thessaloniki in the northern part of the country. He attended the 3rd high school of Katerini, but also played on the nation’s Under-17 team where he averaged 27 ppg, 17 rpg, 10 bpg, and 3 apg. Most recently he played on the Under-18 team and helped them get fourth place in this summer’s FIBA Europe U-18 Championship.
Tsalmpouris is only the seventh 7-footer in Cyclone history and could be expected to play decent minutes right away as the team waits for Jameel McKay’s remaining transfer period to run out. He will likely not start as Georges Niang and Dustin Hogue will initially occupy the front court, with lineup shuffling to occur as players become eligible.
Despite his height, Tsalmpouris only weighs 217 pounds, a true stick figure. He only turned 18 in June, however, and I expect him to bulk up significantly over time as he gets more time with the team and conditioning staff. I see his role this year as part body-blocker (similar to Daniel Edozie), and part stretch-4. Because of his European background, his passing and outside shooting are more developed than big men here in America. Look for Fred Hoiberg to move him around and experiment with his skill-set over the course of the season.
Overall it will be interesting to see how the Greek product acclimates to Western competition. He came to the coaching staff’s attention thanks to Hoiberg’s long-standing connections in the NBA and was signed not long after that. His stats are undoubtedly inflated thanks to inferior competition, so don’t think he’ll set the world on fire right away. He comes on the heels of several other Greeks who have joined the pro ranks like the Antetokounmpo brothers.
Thank you for joining us for this look at one of the most exciting freshmen in recent memory. Let’s get some Colossus hype going and join us next time for more Cyclone previews.