The UC Irvine men's basketball program should bring new meaning to the "Big" West Conference, after it announced Friday that Giannis Dimakopoulos, a 7-foot-2 native of Greece who is a senior at Cathedral High in Los Angeles, has signed a national letter of intent to play for the Anteaters in 2013-14.
Dimakopoulos joins 7-5 signee Mamadou Ndiaye, a touted recruit from Brethren Christian High in Huntington Beach, to give Coach Russell Turner unprecedented size. Next season's roster figures to also include current 7-0 freshman center Conor Clifford, as well as current sophomores Mike Best and John Ryan (both 6-10), and 6-8 sophomore Will Davis.
Dimakopoulos, who Turner described as a finesse player, averaged 15 points, 11 rebounds and four assists per game to help the Panathinaikos Under-18 team win the Greek championship last year.
He also played for the Greek national teams in the U-16 and U-18 European Championships, and participated in the 2010 Jordan Brand Classic in Istanbul, Turkey, that featured the top 40 European prospects.
Dimakopoulos' father, Dimitris, is a former player with the Greek national team.
"I'm excited to add another academically-strong, high-character player with a combination of size and skill," Turner said in a statement. "Every time I see him play, he does something different because his skill level is so unique. Giannis has a bright future as his game continues to grow and improve.
"This is another example of my staff's hard work in identifying international recruits that will be great fits for UC Irvine. I give my staff credit for this exceptional signing."
UCI is also expected to announce soon the signing of Luke Spencer, a 6-2 point guard from Great Britain.
— From staff reports