Fred Hoiberg and Matt Abdelmassih learned a lot during their two-day trip to Greece last week. The Iowa State coaches crossed the pond to essentially put a bow on one of the more unique recruiting stories that you will hear.
Giorgos Tsalmpouris, a 7-foot-1 prospect who can reportedly run and shoot, signed with Iowa State last month before ever meeting Hoiberg or anybody from his staff in person.
“The biggest thing was putting a face with the voice,” Tsalmpouris’ lead recruiter, Matt Abdelmassih said. “We have talked every single day since we started recruited him by email or on the phone. It was really good to meet and spend some time with him. We spent two full days together. It was really good getting to know his family too.”
Tsalmpouris will begin playing with the Greek national team in July. That “season” will wrap up on Aug. 5 and then, Tsalmpouris and his family are tentatively scheduled to officially visit Iowa State from Aug. 8-11.
“He is going to come over with his family,” Abdelmassih said. “They were really adamant about trying to see the place. I thought it was a really good idea. I’m really looking forward to spending some time showing them the campus and everything so that they can feel more comfortable. He will return here a couple of days before school starts.”
Iowa State’s fall semester is scheduled to begin on Aug. 25.
Tsalmpouris, the basketball player
While in Greece, Hoiberg and Abdelmassih also had the opportunity to watch Tsalmpouris play in person for the first time. So far, so good.
“The thing that I walked away really excited about was that his legs are really thick,” Abdelmassih said. “His frame will allow him to gain weight and get stronger so I was really happy about that. His hands are big. He is a legit 7-1.”
That was a pleasant surprise but mostly, Tsalmpouris is who the Iowa State coaches thought he would be.
“The biggest thing will be the transition for him physically,” Abdelmassih said. “Playing in America in college basketball is going to be his biggest thing. In terms of skillset and the ability to knock down shots, there is no doubt that the kid has a chance to play. You don’t find many kids that are 7-1 as skilled as he is.”