Three Options For Koufos

After an up-and-down season culminated with a championship earned on the court at Madison Square Garden, freshman Kosta Koufos was immediately asked about his plans for next season. While he had no answers at the time, a framework for a final decision is now being sketched -- and BuckeyeSports.com has the details.

Three options wait for Kosta Koufos. Three chances to display his talents on the basketball court in front of three distinctly different crowds.

Which one he will choose remains undecided, however, as the 7-0 center from Ohio State continues to weigh his options.

"He's still in the deciding phase," his mother, Katerina, told BuckeyeSports.com. "He's considering all his options and hasn't finalized anything yet."

After the Buckeyes closed out the 2007-08 season with a victory in the championship game of the MasterCard NIT Tournament, Koufos told reporters he was simply concentrating on enjoying the moment and had not thought about whether or not he would return for his sophomore season.

Koufos and his teammates returned to Columbus and Koufos spent the weekend back home in Canton with his mother. The two talked and started weighing all options, but Koufos left without reaching a final verdict.

He is now still attending classes at OSU while his mother gives him the space she feels he needs.

"I want him to do whatever makes him happy," she said. "I'm comfortable with whatever decision he makes. I'm not going to tell him what to do. I'm just going to gather information and present it to him."

Moving forward, his mother said she expects a final decision to be reached in the "next couple of weeks."

Although Koufos was raised in America, his parents hail from Greece – a fact that allowed him to play for the Greek national team in the U-18 European championships during the summer prior to his freshman season. He finished the tournament averaging 26.5 points, 13 rebounds and 3.5 blocked shots, capturing most valuable player honors in the process.

The experience resulted in several foreign teams offering Koufos millions of dollars to immediately turn pro and skip out on his college career, but his desire to play for his parents' alma mater trumped an early paycheck this time around.

Now, playing overseas remains a viable option for Koufos, as does staying in America and playing in the NBA. Or, he could return for another season in the Scarlet and Gray.

OSU head coach Thad Matta has been involved with the Koufos family, helping them try to make a final decision.

"He has told us that he will be supportive of whatever he does," Katerina said of Matta. "It's good to have a good working relationship with coach."

Players considering entering the NBA draft have until April 27 to declare their intentions, but underclassmen have until June 16 to withdraw provided they do not sign with an agent. The possibility exists, his mother said, that Koufos could opt to enter the draft but not hire an agent, thereby keeping his collegiate eligibility intact.

Should he choose that path, workouts with NBA teams during the coming months could prove to be the deciding factor.

"The mindset now is to give him as much space as possible to process the information," his mother said. "I ask him, ‘What is your heart telling you?' If he declares after thinking it all through he still has until June 16, so he has choices. It does not have to be a steadfast decision. Of course, the NBA is the ultimate goal – it's just a question of when and the timing involved."

Trying to figure out where he might be selected in the NBA draft is a tricky process, however. ESPN.com lists Koufos as the No. 21 prospect in the class of 2008 and a mid-to-late first-round pick, while CBSSportline.com does not have him on a list of top underclassmen who have not announced their intentions yet.

As such, Katerina said making a decision based on mock drafts might not be wise.

"The projections are all over the place," she said. "It's called a mock draft for a reason. A lot depends on the workouts and how players show there."

Koufos finished the season as OSU's No. 2 scorer, posting a 14.4 points-per-game scoring average. He was the team's second-best three-point shooter, connecting at 34.9 percent (22 of 63) and the leading rebounder with 6.7 boards per contest.

His ability to adapt to the style of play prevalent in the Big Ten only shows that he will be able to succeed at the next level – whichever one that might – his mother said.

"He has matured and grown and worked very hard both on and off the court because he has a real passion for the game of basketball and he wants to get better," she said. "At the next level they will ask him to do different things as well. He got off the plane overseas and had to adapt to a new style of play just like he did when he got to Ohio State. He has shown that he has good flexibility.

"We're just going to wait and see what happens."


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