A eventful 12 months for former Dayton Flyers forward Kostas Antetokounmpo continues Thursday when he hopes to hear his name called in the NBA Draft.
It’s Antetokounmpo’s potental — not his production at Dayton during his one season on the court — that makes him a potential second-round pick.
“Kostas has a high ceiling,” said former Dayton assistant coach James Kane, who started a new job at Iowa State this week. “He’s learning every day. The staff at Dayton did a great job with him. He just has a bright future.”
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The 6-foot-10 Antetokounmpo averaged 5.2 points and 2.9 rebounds in 15.1 minutes per game. He led the team with 31 blocks. He saw his minutes rise and dip over the course of the season but showed improvement in the final weeks of the season, by which point it was easy to forget what he went through in the months leading up to the season.
Casey Cathrall, Dayton’s strength coach last season and now the strength coach for the Miami Hurricanes men’s basketball team, looked back at Antetokounmpo’s development in an interview Monday.
“Kostas definitely made some strides,” Cathrall said. “Unfortunately, with some of the things that went on during the offseason, whether it was his injury back in Greece or his father passing away, there were just a lot of setbacks. Our main goal when Kostas finally got back to Dayton was getting him healthy and getting him on the floor. He already sat out a year. We wanted to get him to a point where he could progress and contribute and have a role we could iron out with him. It’s tough coming back from an injury, and I lost my father when I was his age.”
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Antetokounmpo had to adapt to the college game as well as the daily practice grind, Cathrall said, and the travel. He didn’t travel with the team in his redshirt year.
In the end Antetokounmpo didn’t have the season he wanted, Cathrall said, but he felt Antetokounmpo was hitting his stride by the end of the year.
“He definitely matured over his time at Dayton,” Cathrall said. “I’m excited for him and the opportunity he had going forward. His best days of basketball are ahead of him if he can continue on that plan and that path. I think the biggest thing Kostas probably took away from his time in Dayton are just the habits. No matter what your goals are and where you’re trying to get in life, no matter if it’s basketball or whatever, the habits and the routine and the things that go into being a successful basketball player and person, it doesn’t change. His play toward the end of the year really showed (improvement). I think his habits got better. He got healthier. He started to understand what it takes to be successful. I think his best basketball is ahead of him. I think he’s a kid with a tremendous amount of passion for the game. I think he’s going to do big things and do Dayton proud.”