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NBA Comparison: Eddy Curry

Strengths: A Greek Baby Shaq? A super prospect with developing offensive skills. He plays with aggressiveness, intelligence. a solid inside game with post moves, baby hooks, and his shot from the 16-18 feet is excellent. Unselfish player with great agility. He sets up screens extremely well. Has the smooth moves of a forward combined with muscles that allow him to be dominant on the boards. He jumps impetuously for rebounds, both on offense and defense. He can handle the ball well from the one paint to the other. His approach to devloping his game is very mature.

Weaknesses: Inexperience. Must stay focused. Gets into foul trouble easily (mainly due to his passion to play good defense). Needs to work more on his free throws in order not to face problems in the future. Still has a ways to go in terms of development, but with such a strong work ethic, there's no telling how good he can be. Still isn't asked much of because he is playing against much older and more experienced players. He is being nurtured along slowly to best facilitate his skills and potential. (Could be closer to 6-8, but at just 16, he figures to continue to grow.)

Notes: The first thing that comes to mind when watching this kid is that its rare to find a body with such amazing strength and size at the age 16 ( born in June of 1985). Son of a Greek father and a Nigerian mother, Shortsianitis impressed last year Iraklis American player, Tony Farmer ( former Golden State Warriors Forward), who gave him the name “Baby Shaq”, because of his beast-strength and his inside game. Another impressive element of his game is his fighting spirit on defense. He is a quick learner and a pearly character. He will probably be a 7 footer of 280 pounds full of muscles and strength. Sophocles will benefit greatly from the fact that he has competed against professionals in a very tough league from age 15. He has similar game to Eddy Curry of the Chicago Bulls. Right now , he is a "Baby-Shaq" that spends hours upon hours in the gym lifting weights or training both with the youngs and the pro players.

5/23 - Schortsianitis had a 6 page interview in the biggest basketball magazine in Greece, saying that he will most probably enter the 2004 NBA draft.

6/5 - Sofocles Schortsianitis most probably will take part in the Benetton Big Man basketball camp. He was invited , but the thing is that he 'll have to stay with the Cadet's National Team for the European Championship. Alongside this, Schortsianitis is invited to take part to a camp for big men in Miami in the late July-early August, so you ll most probably have the chance to take a closer look at him! Hot Summer for this kid!

-Dimitris Armadoros

Watching a colored player of enormous dimensions rise from the bench of Iraklis, in the second period of the game against Olympiakos, the Olympiakos’ fans in the Glyfada’s Basketball Hall must have wondered: "What happened to playing against teams without foreigners on their roster?" Of course, he is not a foreigner. Welcome the greatest hope of Greek basketball in many years. His color is dark. But his name is as Greek as it gets, as is his background: Sophocles (Shortsianitis). Sophocles finished the game with 11 points (on 5/6 2point shots) and 5 rebounds ( he also had a block and an assist), making those that did not know about him... become well acquainted. For many fans, his presence in the second period of the match was a surprise. Not for the 16 year old (He’s born in the 22nd of June 1985 (YES!!!), of 2.05 height (6’10” ) and weight of 115 kilos ( 253 pounds) Greek center. It was the 17th February of 2001, when Iraklis team was facing Panionios, in the Ivanofjio Hall. "Sophocles, stand up. You are in the starting five", said the former coach of the “Aged” (nickname of Iraklis team), Elias Armenis. Those words changed the life of the 16-year-old boy center. In the two first phases of that game he made an "and-one" and gained another foul. According to “testimonies”, Kostas Maglos of Panionios ( remember him? He was the starting center of Boston College back in 1997) had said to his coach, at that time, Lefteris Soubotic ( now coach of Olympiakos): "But, these were supposed not to have a second foreigner. When did they brought him?”. "He is not a foreign player, Kostas. He is Greek and in particular 16 years of age ", replied Subotic. Maglos was astonished. Afterwards, in the press conference, his coach Iljas Armenis declared: "This kid, in two years time, he will be in the starting five of Iraklis and in 2004 (Olympic Games in Athens) he will be playing in the National team!” But how Iraklis bring this "black diamond" to it's team’s roster? It was one from the few things that former president of the team, Emfietzoglou left behind when leaving the team. The former big shareholder of Iraklis had a “passion” to bring talents to his team from Macedonia terrace and the Thrace terrace (north Greek territories. Iraklis is located in a Macedonian city called Thessalonica) . Thus, the scouts of the team started searching Northern Greece for talents. At some point, they went to the city of Kavala. And. they were “frightened” with what they saw. A 15-year-old, monster of force who, during games was making his opponents in the EKASDYM (amateurs championship for northern Greek teams) look like fools. Immediately, Iraklis began it's acquisition process. Young Sophocles was not pleased playing for such a small team, like Iraklis Kavalas (his former team had the same name as his current team – Iraklis, is the mythical Greek hero, that in English is called Hercules) . But, Iraklis had to compete against other big teams in order to acquire the kid. Not only fellow citizen team PAOK, but also the AEK Athens had scouted him also. Suddenly, it began a battle, which didn’t ever see the light of publicity. The interconnections of Mr Emfjetzogloy in Kavala (He had intense enterprising activity) played a decisive role. "When they told me that Iraklis wanted to acquire me, I was madly happy. And promised that I will do everything in order to succeed", he says. From the first day that he stepped into Ivanofjio Hall, Sophocles Shortsianitis became an object of intense study for the European scouts that work for NBA teams. He has already played some games for the young national team. Sunday afternoon, in Glyfada’s Sports Hall, there were scouts that were impressed by the spectacle that they saw. Impressed were those who hadn’t seen him before, of course. Logically, in Monday morning he would have a reason to be proud of his performance toward one from most complete "front lines" in Europe ( Olympiakos team front line contains James Forrest-one of the best American players in Europe-, Spanish international De Miguel, German international Patric Femerling and Russian international and future NBA prospect Zevrosenko ). But he says "I do not care for what others say about me, nor do I ever feel proud of what I achieved. I just have hard work to do. This is my life-phrase". When these words come out from the mouth of 16-year-old child, then, yes, he is the true prospect of Greek basketball! And he is not only saying words that float in space.On Iraklis’ team they all speak highly of Shortsianitis' work ethic and desire. Of course, he is child and it’s logical for a child to dream. But Iraklis current coaches Kostas Pilafidis and Paraskeuas Mouratidis work a lot on Sophocles talent, doing a very good job on him, and one day the dream may be reality.

translated by: Dimitris Armadoros

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