Koufos Turns Heads At Nike Camp

Canton GlenOak 7-0 standout Kosta Koufos was one of 40 players selected as all-stars at last week's 120-player Nike All-American Camp in Indianapolis. The talented junior-to-be discussed where things stand with his recruiting in general and with Ohio State in particular.

Few players across the country have shot up the charts as quickly this summer as Canton GlenOak junior forward/center Kosta Koufos.

The 7-0, 230-pound Koufos was among 40 players selected for all-star action at last week's 120-player Nike All-American Camp in Indianapolis. Koufos has earned his Nike invitation after a strong showing at the Nike Hoops Jamboree several weeks earlier in St. Louis.

Prior to the Nike Camp, Koufos vaulted as high as No. 16 on ScoutHoops.com's national list of the top players in the Class of 2007. (He is among five Ohioans in the top 20 with the North College Hill trio of O.J. Mayo at No. 1, Billy Walker at No. 5 and Keenan Ellis at No. 11, along with Trotwood-Madison's Chris Wright at No. 20.).

"I always wanted to try and get on the map," said Koufos, who ranks only behind Mayo and Walker on Ohio High magazine's list of the state's top juniors-to-be. "I wanted to make my name out there and do my best."

Koufos' parents are of Greek descent, although he was born in Canton and his parents each attended Ohio State.

He lists offers from OSU, Michigan, Xavier, Miami (Fla.) and Akron. However, after his showing at Nike, schools from across the country are expected to get involved.

And who can blame them? Koufos is a rare breed – an active 7-footer who can stretch a defense with his great shooting.

"I think I'm an in and out player," Koufos said. "I try and pattern my game after Larry Bird, Dirk Nowitzki and Pau Gasol. I think I need to post up a little bit more. My jump shot and my dribbling, I think, are fine. I just need to work more on posting up and my defense."

During the course of the Nike Camp, Koufos went head to head with 6-11 Washington standout Spencer Hawes, one of the nation's top 10 senior prospects.

"Spencer is obviously one of the top post players," Koufos said. "I think I did pretty well defensively. I had a couple blocks and a couple of buckets. That gets me a lot better."

Koufos said he credits hard work and good coaching for his sudden rise.

"I was pretty good my freshman year," he said. "In the summer after my freshman year, I practiced so much. I have great coaches with Brian Bachman for my AAU team (the King James Shooting Stars) and Coach (Jack) Greynolds (Jr.) at my high school. I played well in some tournaments and that carried over."

As a sophomore, Koufos averaged 15.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.7 blocked shots per game for GlenOak.

While Koufos was in St. Louis at the Nike Hoops Jamboree, his GlenOak teammates made a splash by finishing second to Dayton Dunbar in a tournament at the OSU summer camp in June. Koufos said he and his teammates are expecting big things this year.

"We're jelling," he said. "Our team is guard oriented. I'm the only big guy on the team. The second tallest guy is Nate West, who is 6-3. We've got great point guards and great shooters."

But first things first, Koufos has a number of AAU events planned for July.

"I'm going to Las Vegas with my King James team to play in the Nike Main Event," he said. "Later, I'm going to go to New Orleans with All-Ohio Red. I may also try and go to Orlando with the Cleveland Titans. But that's up in the air."

During June, Koufos made an unofficial visit to OSU.

"Meeting the coaching staff was great," he said. "I loved when Coach Matta showed me the video about what position I could play for them. I think I would fit into their program pretty well.

"I was happy the whole time I was there. The first thing he did was offer me and I was just thrilled. I had the greatest time and the greatest visit. Everything was perfect. The assistant coaches were great."

Koufos was supposed to make a car trip down to Xavier. But the trip was canceled when the transmission on his car was failing. He did take a tour of the Maryland campus, though, and also hopes to see campuses at North Carolina, N.C. State and Duke.

"I didn't meet with the coaches at Maryland," he said. "We were at a tournament in D.C., so I just checked around the campus. It was a quick in and out. Coach Booth, an assistant coach at Maryland, we met up at an AAU tournament. They are recruiting me big time.

"North Carolina has also been recruiting me pretty hard."

But Koufos said he is in no hurry to make a college decision.

"I'm trying to keep my options open," he said. "If I choose a school now, it could be a mistake. My mom and I are going to choose a school together.

"I want to see how I will fit in. Ohio State is a great place and with (Greg) Oden and (Mike) Conley being two of the best players in the nation, that would be a blessing to play there."

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