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7/18/2008 9:52 AM
Re: C Zisis Sarikopoulos  (United States)
Men's Basketball: Ohio State Welcomes Transfer to Men’s Basketball Program
Courtesy: OhioStateBuckeyes.com
          Release: 07/17/2008

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Center from Greece played freshman season at UAB

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Thad Matta, Ohio State head men’s basketball coach, announced the addition of Zisis Sarikopoulos (ZIZ-is SAR-uh-cope-uh-liss), a 7-foot, 265-pound center from Athens, Greece, to the Buckeye roster Thursday. Sarikopoulos played last season at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. He will sit out the 2008-09 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules and will have three seasons of eligibility beginning with the 2009-10 season.

Sarikopoulos appeared in 20 games as a rookie at UAB. He started four games, averaged 1.8 points and 1.1 rebounds for the Blazers, who finished with a 23-11 record in 2007-08.

With extensive international experience, a year of NCAA college basketball and a year to develop as a Buckeye, Matta expects Sarikopoulos to contribute to the Ohio State program down the road.

“Zisis will give us a physical presence and some size,” Matta said. “We have a year to work with him on getting stronger and learning our system. He entered college at only 17 years old. He will help immediately in practice. We are excited about his decision to join our program.”

Before traveling to the United States last August to join the UAB program, Sarikopoulos led the Under-18 Greece national team to a second-place finish in the 2007 Euro Championships and helped club team Olympiakos B.C. to a second-place finish in the country. He averaged about 20 points and 16 rebounds per game, all team highs for Olympiakos. He also averaged 7.5 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and 1.1 steals per contest for Greece in the Under-18 European Championships.

Prior to joining the UAB squad, his only other appearance in the United States came earlier in 2007, when Michael Jordan hand-selected Sarikopoulos as the MVP of Greece, inviting him to compete at the Jordan Brand All-American Classic in New York City. Sarikopoulos joined a dozen other international stars as representatives of some of the top basketball players in their respective countries.

Ohio State will enter the 2008-09 season with a full compliment of 13 scholarship players. At least two walk-on players, senior Danny Peters and junior Mark Titus, also return. Another walk-on also will be added to the roster once Ohio State’s fall quarter begins in September.

The Buckeyes finished the 2007-08 season with a 24-13 record. Ohio State won its final five games of the season to earn the 2008 National Invitation Tournament title at Madison Square Garden in New York. The Buckeyes defeated Massachusetts in the title game, 92-85.

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