Alexandros Samontourov has shown fans watching the Euroleague Basketball Adidas Next Generation Tournament Patras why he is considered one of the biggest prospects in Greek basketball. And after making the all-tournament team playing for the select U18 Next Generation Team Patras, he cannot wait to take the next step in his development with Panathinaikos OPAP Athens.
Samontourov looking forward to next step with Panathinaikos
In the ANGT Patras group stage, Samontourov led the NGP team in scoring (19.0 ppg), rebounds (8.3 rpg), steals (2.7 spg), blocks (2.7 bpg) and performance index rating (29.7) and also contributed 2.0 assists.
"I am very excited to be part of this tournament," said Samontourov, who won't celebrate his 17th birthday until late next month. "I can become better by playing against these players and with such great teammates and for this head coach."
The native of Thessaloniki said it was of great value to be playing for the legendary Vassilis Spanoulis, who is serving as the coach of all the Adidas select teams in this season's qualifying tournaments.
"He has helped me both on and off the court with his advice and his influence is making me want to be a better player," Samontourov said.
The 2.10-meter big man felt great to even be chosen for the NGP team.
"I am honored to be picked in one of these teams, and it is very important for players like me to have the opportunity to play in this level."
Samontourov made big headlines a week before ANGT Patras when he signed a long-term contract until 2028 with Panathinaikos.
"The fact that Mr. [Dimitris] Diamantidis and Mr. [Fragiskos] Alvertis are at Panathinaikos played a big role in my decision," the young talent said of the two Panathinaikos legends who are serving as co-general managers. "I believe they are going to help me become a better player just like it happened with Nikos Hatzivrettas."
Hatzivrettas, a two-time Turkish Airlines EuroLeague champion who also helped Greece win FIBA EuroBasket 2005 gold and FIBA Basketball World Cup 2006 silver medals, has mentored Samontourov from his beginnings.
"Everything I know about basketball I have learned from Nikos, and he still continues to support me," Samontourov said of Hatzivrettas, whose EuroLeague titles came in 2007 and 2009 with Panathinaikos.
The Greens got a first-hand look at Samontourov just before signing him as the big man dominated the Greek U18 Rising Stars tournament in leading the Deka Academy in Thessaloniki to the title. Samontourov recorded 25 points, 12 rebounds, 2 assists and 5 blocks against PAOK in the quarterfinals and followed that with 32 points and 12 rebounds, including 6 three-pointers, in a semifinals victory over Panathinaikos. Samontourov then tallied 30 points, 13 rebounds and 2 assists in the final to beat Olympiacos.
"It felt great winning every game, but the next day I was focused on the next game and I believe that helped me and my team to win the trophy," said Samontourov, who took home the MVP trophy.
Samontourov hopes he can win more trophies soon with Panathinaikos.