Lefteris Liotopoulos commits to Rick Pitino and St. John’s

2023-05-24T10:56:21+00:00 2023-05-24T10:56:21+00:00.

Giannis Askounis

24/May/23 10:56


Connections to Greece help Rick Pitino collect domestic talent in the form of promising upstart Lefteris Liotopoulos

By Johnny Askounis/ info@eurohoops.net

Instead of the usual path attached to professional action in Europe, Greek guard Lefteris Liotopoulos opted to commit to St. John’s opening the 2024 recruiting class for the school guided by Rick Pitino.

Liotopoulos, 16, represented Greece in the 2022 FIBA U16 European Championship averaging 4.8 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per contest. At the club level, he tallied 23.2 points, 7.7 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 1.5 steals per game playing for DEKA Academy through the 2022-23 season. Future plans extend to the NCAA, as reported by the New York Post.

“I understand the fact that I would probably get more offers in the next few months, but it would be hard for me to refuse Rick Pitino’s offer, because he’s a legend in basketball,” he told The Post, “He’s a Hall of Fame coach. I was watching him coach Panathinaikos. He’s a great coach, a very successful coach.”

“In the last two months, he has been calling me and watching my games. I’m very honored for this,” he added describing the building relationship with the legendary tactician.

Turning down offers

Besides emerging opportunities to pursue a professional career, the Greek guard was also recruited by Virginia, Stanford, and Princeton, as noted.

“I decided to go to college in the U.S. because I want to combine basketball with academics. I know it [will] be very useful after my basketball career,” he explained in the phone interview, “It was a little tough to decide, but I think in the future, it’s going to pay off.”

Pitino, 70, coached Greek giant Panathinaikos and the senior national team of Greece during his time off from college basketball. Connections to the country prove fruitful as promising prospect Liotopoulos commits to St. John’s.

Eager to strengthen the link, the youngster is planning his first trip to New York City and visit the Red Storm in September.


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