Giannoulis Larentzakis on how BCL, World Cup QF helped him grow as a player
By Nikos Varlas/
AEK Athens guard Giannoulis Larentzakis has been a key player of the Greek national team’s nearly flawless (9-1) run towards not only clinching an early ticket to the 2019 World Cup but being a favorite for the top spot in the Group.
In eight games of the Qualifiers, Larentzakis has averaged 9.8 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.9 assists over 17.4 minutes per game. He had some particularly memorable performances in the win over Great Britain when he scored 22 points, plus the victory over Germany. He had 19 points, five rebounds, and four assists in the latter.
As Larentzakis told Eurohoops, the World Cup Qualifiers experience has been significant in his individual growth as a player.
“Surely. they [World Cup Qualifiers] played a big part. It helped a lot of guys grab an opportunity. The Windows also showed to everyone that the Greek national team is at a high level. We are very happy that we helped Greece advance to the World Cup.”
In the meantime, Larentzakis has been helping AEK in its efforts to defend the Basketball Champions League trophy. The 25-year-old player is making buckets (10.1 points), grabbing rebounds (3.8) and dishing out assists (2.9) while shooting 24/54 from beyond the arc.
“I was very lucky this is happening at this moment,” Larentzakis commented on playing in the Basketball Champions League. “I play a lot and this helps me grab experiences and have more showings.”
Speaking of which, Larentzakis and AEK will now compete for the FIBA Intercontinental Cup in the Final Four held in Rio, Brazil from 15 to 17 of February.
Brazil is pretty much the land of football, so does Larentzakis hope to… bring out the goalkeeper within? After all, the last time he did, even Gianluigi Buffon took notice.
“Ι don’t know… maybe. If we stayed one day or two extra maybe we’ll go at Copacabana and play [football]”