Northwestern State inks Greek junior national player Nikos Chougkaz

The international flavor of the Northwestern State men’s basketball recruiting class continued with the signing Greek national player Nikos Chougkaz, announced coach Mike McConathy on Friday.

Chougkaz, who joins his twin Robert in NSU’s signing class, is a 6-foot-10 guard/forward who plays on the U19 Greek national team that will be competing in the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup in Greece starting Saturday.

“Nikos’ wingspan and skill set separates him from ordinary 6-foot-10 players,” said NSU men’s basketball coach Mike McConathy who will begin his 21st season in Natchitoches. “He is a lethal 3-point shooter, moves well without the ball and dribbles with the dexterity of most high-level guards.

“He can comfortably play almost anywhere on the floor for us, and with his 7-foot-1 wingspan, he can influence the game defensively by changing shots, blocking shots, rebounding, denying the passing lanes and switching ball screens.”

Chougkaz is one of 12 players on the U19 Greek team after he competed on the U18 squad this past season, including in the European Championship.

In two exhibition games leading up to the World Cup, he scored 14 points in 20 minutes against the USA and 11 points and three rebounds in 15 minutes against Serbia.

For a sneak peak at this future Demon, visit FIBA’s website and watch Greece’s games on their YouTube channel. Greece is eight hours ahead of Central Standard Time with Saturday’s game against the Philippines being at 12:30 p.m. CST.

“Nikos has performed well against tough competition both with his national team and club teams, and we expect him to make the transition to college faster than the average freshman,” McConathy said. “We expect Nikos and Robert to have built-in chemistry, and they will help each other transition to a new culture more easily.”

The 210-pounder played in high school at Papacharalampio Private School and on the Peristeri BC club team for three seasons.

“We are very fortunate to have landed such a high-caliber player this late in the recruiting process,” McConathy said. “As one of the most highly regarded teenage players in Greece, we became aware of his availability after we signed his twin brother Robert.

“Nikos turned down professional basketball opportunities to pursue an American education, and we naturally moved forward with him.”

The Chougkaz twins join a seven-member signing class that includes Israeli swingman Jovan Zelenbaba along with American forward Gatdoar Kueth (Iowa), guards Jairus Roberson (Texas) and Trent Massner (Iowa) and post Jamaure Gregg (Texas).