The biggest thing in the state is still getting bigger. That's 7-1 Kosta Koufos.
The Canton GlenOak junior forward is averaging 23.1 points and 10.9 rebounds a game thus far this season. He has taken in basketball games at Louisville and Ohio State recently.
The junior, who is ranked No. 20 in the nation by Scout Hoops, discussed the latest on his high school team's season as well as a few of his favorites – Ohio State, Louisville and Maryland in a list that also includes Illinois, Michigan, Michigan State, Xavier, Duke and Akron.
Here is the interview in its entirety that took place on Tuesday evening:
Bucknuts: Tell me about your season and how that's going so far. You've had some tough losses but you're playing pretty well?
Kosta Koufos: "Right now we're 8-3. We've had some tough losses we shouldn't have lost. We lost to McKinley and the team from Indiana. McKinley is obviously a great team. We just need to gel more together and play better as a team. We have all the right guards and post players to be a contender this year."
BN: I know you had said the McKinley game was a big deal for you. Are you disappointed it turned out the way it did?
"Oh yeah, I'm still disappointed about it right now. I know I should let things go but I definitely think we could have done a lot better. We played real hard. Even though the shots weren't falling we kept fighting."
BN: Who was your third loss to?
"We lost to Massillon today."
BN: Tell me about that game and how it went.
"We lost by three and I missed a buzzer beater. We played hard but we shot 38 percent from the field and they shot 61 percent from the field."
BN: Oh wow, that will do it.
"Yeah they made, every possession they made threes."
BN: How did Mario (Edwards) look today?
"Mario played real well. He's a great defender, a great athlete, he shot real well, drove to the hole, had a lot of assists, he's a great player."
BN: They (Massillon) are probably feeling pretty good about their postseason chances, as this is probably one of the best teams they have had in a few years.
"Oh yeah, by far. They're a real good team."
BN: We're a little past halfway through the season now, what are some of the things your team needs to do better as a team?
"Honestly, I think we just need… right now we're playing real well, it was just one of those types of games where they shot that much better than us. I mean geez, they shot 61 percent from the field for goodness sakes."
BN: Do you feel like your team was playing a little less defense than you should have, or were they (Massillon) just making the shots?
"They were just making shots. We were playing defense, we were right on them, they were just fading away and making shots from everywhere."
BN: I guess there's not much you can do about that?
"Right. I mean…well, yeah. There's not."
BN: If you get a hand in their face and they have to fade away or take off-balanced shots, I would imagine you would take that?
"We'll take that all day. I'd rather have that than an uncontested shot."
BN: How has your coach been using you? Are you playing down on the block this year?
"I'm doing both, in and out. If I want to shoot the three, I'll shoot the three. If I want to take the point, I'll take the point guard position. If I've got a mismatch, I'll take the post – which helps me a lot."
BN: Have you been playing the point – or at least, with the ball in your hands at the top of the key at times?
"Yes I have been a little. Like for instance when I get a rebound and I dribble it back out and reset the offense."
BN: How is your ball-handling coming along? Are you feeling more comfortable?
"Oh yeah, real comfortable. I practice ball-handling three times a week so I try to get better as much as possible. There's always room for improvement."
BN: I hear that your coaches have kind of wanted you to improve some of your footwork defensively, is that something that's been coming along as well?
"Oh by far. I have been doing really well. I've been averaging five or six blocked shots a game so I've been doing pretty good and I'm averaging double-digit rebounds a game too. Coach Greynolds always makes me play defense in practice. He never has me play offense. So to get on the offensive end, I have to play really good defense in practice."
BN: Do you feel like you're going to be a good shot-blocker in college or do you think you're taking advantage of your size right now on the high school level?
"I can see myself being a pretty good player. Honestly, I think I can be a good defensive player. I'm still growing right now. I'm pretty tall but I'm so tall that I can't even get in a defensive stance right now because my bones aren't connected. It's a little hard for me to get down to the ground still."
BN: So you're already 7-1 now and you're still growing. What are you going to end up being, 7-2 or 7-3?
"I don't know, whatever God wants me to be I guess."
BN: Well it's apparently obvious that God meant for you to be a basketball player.
"Yes, and I'm really thankful for that."
BN: You went down to Columbus on Sunday. Tell me about that experience and how it went.
"Well obviously for Michigan State it was a packed house. It was a great game although the shots weren't falling for Ohio State. Coach Matta and the team fought through it. They forced it to overtime and double overtime. It was so close. When they play them again though, they will get them."
BN: You were there all at once with the Ohio State commitments and then also you and Dallas in particular. Was it a bonding experience talking with a lot of the other Ohio kids?
"Oh yes. Seeing Greg Oden and Mike Conley – they are really cool guys. They have got great attitudes towards the game of basketball and all the recruits there love basketball which I love being around."
BN: Tell me about Matta's program and your thoughts on it. And also, I have heard you and other recruits describe it as a family type of atmosphere. Is that correct?
"Oh yes sir, by far. Coach Matta has a one-in and four-out philosophy, which has one great post player and four wings out beyond the 3-point line. He's basically recruited all the components to his offense and his defense."
BN: Talk about another team you are real high on – Louisville. Tell me about what you're looking at with Louisville.
"Obviously Coach Pitino – he's a great coach. He coached with the Boston Celtics, although that didn't really work out for him very well. He's got NBA experience. The atmosphere down there and there's no busses, so you can't beat that."
BN: Obviously you have Maryland in there too… Maryland, Louisville and Ohio State; Does this come down to playing close to home versus a different style or what factors weigh into your decision exactly?
"Well obviously the sanctions at Ohio State, but they're out clear I think, I'm not too worried about that honestly. I mean, right now I'm just trying to keep my options open. It's a blessing to have all these offers handed right to you. I'm focusing on high school and trying to win a state championship and all that. Right now distance really isn't a factor as long as I stay on the East coast. I don't want to go out West."
BN: Your mother – is she able to retire soon?
"Yes sir, in two years."
BN: So she would be able to move wherever you went to school anyhow if she wanted, correct?