Ahead of tonight’s vital Game 5 clash, Nicolò Origgi writes about the unique challenge Georgios Printezis presents opponents
A familiar face of European basketball has recently claimed that he owes his prolonged success in the U.S. to his ability of scoring the ball in multiple ways. While it is debatable whether such assumption is truthful or a peculiar hyperbole coming from such a self-confident individual, no one more than Georgios Printezis has proven that some versatility when it comes down to putting the rock in the hole surely does not hurt.
Mainly known for his trademark late game heroics cashing in on teammates’ dishes, the Greek forward is also arguably the deadliest and most unpredictable one-on-one threat among all Euroleague big men. Endowed with the agility and coordination of a pure “3”, also thanks to his awkward-looking yet effective three-point shot Printezis thrives facing the basket as he takes advantage of the momentum gained on defenders for tough finishes via floaters, spin moves and step-throughs – do not forget that he can directly take it to the hole, though. The two-time Euroleague champion doesn’t mind banging down low either, often settling for stationary catches outside the paint in order to have more room to read the defence and, in case of clear one-on-one looks, suddenly change pace from a back-to-the-basket stance given his superb footwork. When this is not possible and a strong inside move is needed, such feature is displayed through an uncanny knack for shaking off defenders with the help of highly effective head and body fakes.
If all of that might already look impressive enough, though, think about each of the abovementioned skills being nonchalantly executed with either hand. As a matter of fact, ambidexterity is probably Printezis’ most remarkable – and discouraging for any opponent tasked with his coverage – strength. By making the right block his home, he attacks the lane going left and can thus unpredictably turn baseline for a right-handed finish. But that is only the tip of the iceberg, because those who unwisely overplay the first potential move might as well end up in the air, only to see a red and white number 15 from behind tossing the ball up at the rim.
It is too obvious to assume that coaches and players around Europe have found their own Rubik’s cube. As long as they do not figure it out, however, one thing is for sure: St. George will not stop gifting Reds fans with other unforgettable memories.