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Ian Vouyoukas will play in Greece June 29, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Basketball.

Former St. Louis University center Ian Vouyoukas has gone home to Greece and signed a three-year contract with Olympiakos, one of the country’s top clubs. Vouyoukas agreed to the deal Saturday.

“I have not yet realized what’s happened,” Vouyoukas told the club’s website. “I only came to Greece on Friday and now I am suddenly a player on the team of Olympiakos. I still can’t believe it.”

Olympiakos is a nine-time champion of the Greek league, though it hasn’t won a title since 1997. The club went 21-5 last season, but finished second to Panathinaikos, the other powerhouse of Greek basketball. It also lost to Panathanaikos in the finals of the Greek playoffs.

One of Vouyoukas’ goals when he came to SLU was to make it to the NBA, and he declared himself for the NBA draft after his junior season so he could get his name in front of NBA executives so they would pay more attention to him as a senior. He removed his name from the draft and returned for his senior season at SLU, where he played well at times, but a disappointing stretch in the middle of the season led to former coach Brad Soderberg dropping him from the starting lineup for a game.

Vouyoukas finished the season strongly and was invited to the NBA’s Portsmouth camp, but he didn’t advance to the next step, the Orlando camp. He did not work out with any teams individually.

“Yes, I do think about the NBA, who doesn’t?” Vouyoukas told the Olympiakos website. “Currently though, I am only interested in Olympiakos and how I can help my team reach its goals. I don’t expect to win anything without making an effort. That’s what I want. To join the team, find my place in it, and do my best from within.”

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