Nike Interviews: Kosta Koufos

Canton Oh. center Kosta Koufos turned a lot of heads at the Nike All-American camp last week with his athleticism and activity in the post. During his Q&A session with members of the media, the talented prospect revealed the Wolverines are on his list, but that it will be an uphill battle for them (and all of the other schools on his list) to catch his favorite.

At 7-0, 232- pounds, rising 2007 prospect Kosta Koufos showed at the Nike All-American camp that he should be ranked among the best in his class regardless of position. Blessed with long arms (seven-foot two-inch wing span) he can block shots and rebound on the defensive end, and can use his soft touch to deliver on a nice turnaround outside of the post on the offensive end. He also displayed the ability to get up and down the floor with the best of them. That said, he is not a dominating prospect yet. At this point, smaller stronger players can move him off of his position. If he adds much needed strength, he could become very tough to deal with.

When Koufos spoke with a pool of media members at the camp, it was clear that all of the schools on his list are chasing the hometown favorite.

What's your family background?

"I'm not from Greece. Everybody is messing that up. Everybody in my family was born in Greece besides my siblings and me. My parents were born in Greece. My mom was probably around twelve when she went to Australia, and then from Australia she came here. And my dad, I don't know…I think age ten or eleven. I've got one older brother and one older sister that were born in Ohio."

How are your grades?

"I maintain a 4.0 cum. average. I recently received a 4.0 last semester. My mom is a guidance counselor and she stresses grades more than basketball. She's on me."

You played well at the Nike Hoop Jamboree and that got you invited here. How much has it helped your confidence to know that you can play against some of the best players?

"Greatly.. Greatly. Playing against the best players in the nation, and you can compete with them…that's just a thrill! This is probably one of the best competitions in the nation for my age group."

What do you like about Ohio State?

"The atmosphere is great. They have a nice gym. Everything is perfect. Everything is how I want it."

How does your mom feel about Ohio State?

"With the campus being so huge, my mom was kind of worried a little bit. But she knows Coach Matta is a great coach. When I visited he said that he was going to take care of me. I treat him as a dad too. He is a good father figure."

Have you been down to Columbus for a game?

"No. Next year during my junior year, I'll go to a game."

When you were growing up lots of kids in Ohio were Buckeye fans. How about you?

"Everyone was a Buckeye fan."

Can any other schools challenge Ohio State? Have any others besides the Buckeyes offered?

"Miami of Florida offered me. Michigan too…they offered. Xavier as well. Duke and Maryland are looking at me. Stanford, Princeton…there are so many I don't know."

Is Ohio State the team to beat?

"Oh yes….they're top five. Akron University is real close. I love that area too."

What would your top five be?

"Ohio State, Michigan, Duke, Maryland, and Akron."

Does Ohio State getting Oden ahead of you discourage you?

"Oh no. Nooooo.. Not whatsoever. That national championship is all I care about. Winning is all I care about. If I play the bench or don't play at all, winning is winning. Coach Matta …we reviewed tape about my position. Oden is a year older than me. He might go to the NBA or he might stay two years. It doesn't matter. He said he'll play me at the three or the four. Getting off screens, shooting the elbow jumper, driving the hoop, and passing it out. Dallas Lauderdale of Ohio will be the five man in that case. So we've got all of the Ohio people coming to Ohio State."

Are you and Dallas going to recruit each other the way Daequan Cook recruited Greg Oden and Mike Conley?

"I haven't really played with Dallas, but I think both of us together could play real well."

You were supposed to make a trip to Ann Arbor last week. What happened?

"When I went down to Ann Arbor our van's transmission blew. Oh my god, it was so scary! Coach Greynolds (his high school coach) is going to take me down in the fall. I was on the phone with Coach Moore for about an hour talking about rescheduling."

Do you plan to decide early or are you going to let this thing play out?

"I'm going to try to keep all my options open. I've got a lot more room to improve. My shooting rebounding and defense. So I'm just going to wait one more year and then at the end of my junior year, I'll be set."

What's going to be most important when it comes time to make your decision?

"Great facilities, a great coaching staff, and the education obviously. Great teachers. When I went to OSU…I want to study business management…I went to the business school and I talked to a professor there. I talked to the dean there and he seemed pretty nice."

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