|Team: NON-NBA College Team: Trikalla|
H: 6' 10"|
W: 205 lbs
(29 Years Old)
Current: SF |
Hometown: Thessaloniki, Greece
Nothing particularly new about Manolopoulos from what we already had seen at LíHospitalet earlier this year. Heís a fundamentally sound player with very nice size, but whose athleticism isnít on par with his skills. At 6-9, he plays like a small forward, but itís not clear if he will be able to keep it up athletically in top European competition, not to mention the NBA.
But letís take a look at his excellent array of skills. Heís a versatile guy with top notch scoring skills, being a nice shooter with three point range and solid mechanics. He can also opt for slashing towards the basket using his solid ball-handling skills and excellent footwork, or he can just take his man to the low post with good chances of success, taking advantage of his size and solid fundamentals.
However, in Belgrade he already showed problems finishing his penetrations near the basket because of his limited athleticism, suffering the opposition of the rival bigs. Also, it remains to be seen how much of his slashing game will be left playing against higher competition and more athletic players. This only means work and more work for Manolopoulos to keep improving his game and make up for his present and potential flaws.
The main concern about his performance in LíHospitalet was his defensive ability. Not being a quick player, his defensive mobility against wings should be at least questionable. Well, even if Greece played many zone defenses in Belgrade, Manolopoulos looked somehow capable of keeping up with your average small forward. I donít think heíll ever become too much of a defensive presence; he could always use another extra degree of intensity here, and he doesnít feel too comfortable defending the perimeter, but as long as he can contain his matchups he should be able to satisfy.
Sotiris should be able to see some playing time next season in Greece, particularly since PAOK has lost some of its important players, among them, wing draft prospects Vasiliadis and Vasilopoulos.
Sotiris Manolopoulos was a member of the Greek Cadet National Team that played in Rivas, the European Championships in 2003, but he didn't shine there. He was a 6-6 wing player. But he has grown 3 inches since then.
So although you may be getting tired by now of reading about 6-9 skilled small forwards, Manolopoulos fits the bill too. Besides, he's the most fundamentally sound of all of them when it comes to scoring.
Like Korolev and Claver, he's a nice gunner all over the court, with good mechanics although not particulary fast. He prefers the static approach, but can make shots off the dribble too. Like Korolev and Claver, he shows nice slashing skills, such as a good first step and sufficient handles, but he's not as explosive.
What makes him a more complete and versatile scorer is his post-up game. He perfectly combines it with his perimeter weapons, and uses it to deliver a turnaround jumper as well as to get past his defender thanks to his quite consistent footwork. Indeed he was the best scorer of the tournament, and although he was the absolute go-to guy in PAOK and the talent level there might have not been the best around, he played against stronger opponents each time, ending against CSKA, and looking better game after game.
Manolopoulos doesn't seem to be an outstanding passer. PAOK was the closest thing to a one-man show seen in L'Hospitalet, not strange if we consider the talent difference between Sotiris and his teammates. So it's somehow understandable that he played a kind of selfish game, rather than trying to feed his teammates. But perhaps he could have involved them a little bit more.
The Greek isn't the athlete Korolev and Claver are, and while his size and skills make the difference on the offensive end, his effectiveness on defense is not so clear. PAOK used a 2-3 zone most of the time, with its star placed in the middle, so it wasn't easy to evaluate his ability to guard opponent small forwards.