Greeks Jumping out the Gym
Greek League Basketball Playoffs Tip-Off this Weekend
There's a place every weekend where the competition between Greeks doesn't take place on Friday or Saturday nights. After the Greek Nights are over, and the hangovers have passed (for most of the guys at least) there is a place where dozens of Greek guys and their fans can gather for the most basic of competition between Greeks there is in this town.... basketball. For those of you who may not have heard of this league, "Greek League" has been around since 1998. It started as a league with 6 teams, with players mainly from Sts. Constantine and Helen in Washington, DC, and has grown to 12 teams in now its 5th season. While still comprised of mostly guys from the Maryland suburbs, there are players from DC, Northern Virginia, and even as far away as Baltimore who play in this league for 12 weeks from February through April. Most teams are sponsored by a Greek-owned business or association. While in most cases the uniforms are different, many of these players are the same guys who grew up playing GOYA basketball in the late 80s and early 90s. But this league is all grown up and the level of play and the level of trash-talk has grown up as well.
We here at DCGreeks.com have decided to feature the teams of Greek League before the start of this weekend's Greek League Playoffs, a 12-team free-for-all where the regular season records are thrown out the window and anything can happen. We've given each team a chance to tell us a little bit about themselves, their hopes for the playoffs, and how they see the playoffs shaping up over the next two weeks. (We were able to get responses back from 7 of the 12 teams in Greek League by the time of this article. We've provided rosters and seeding information for the teams that weren't able to respond to us in time.) Games will be played starting at noon on Sunday with the last game tipping off at 7:00, so if you're in the mood to see some great basketball or to just come out and see your friends either on the court or in the stands, stop by Sligo Middle School in Silver Spring this Sunday.
For more information on Greek League, visit their website at www.greekleague.com or send an email to [email protected].
Greek League Teams
#1. Amphitrion Holidays (9-1)
Holidays is one of the three new teams in Greek League this year, and enters the
tournament as the #1 seed. Their
sponsor is the DC office of the Greek travel and tourism giant by the same name.
The Amphitrion media guide, provided to DCGreeks.com, gives some insight into the personality of this team
and its players.
Karmires - President and Owner. Wanted
to get Armani jerseys but was overruled by sponsor and settled for Addidas
Adamantiades - Vice-President & Chief Operating Officer, currently his full
Drakakis - General Manager/Coach/Architect.
Godin - Best Player on the Team/MVP and one of Amphitrion’s two Philhellenes.
Calamitsis - Senior Leader and Team Sweat Machine.
Kyriakides - Jordan Wanna-be/Chain Smoker/Iverson Energy.
Duffy- All around average white-guy who can play ball and Amphitrion’s other
Vasilios - Member of 3 different Boy-bands and Baltimore Immigrant.
Pangalos – A Greek from the Canary Islands off the coast of Spain who holds
the distinction of being the tallest man in the league.
exhibits good chemistry on the basketball court as well as off of it.
Team members play basketball regularly once a week but sometimes they
bowl, ice-skate, and play tavli together. They’ve
all known each other since childhood growing up in the same neighborhood.
The team met with representatives from Amphitrion Holidays on a cruise to visit
Jean-Paul and Amphitrion expressed interest in Greek League at that time. Amphitrion
claims that Amphitrion Holidays wanted to buy the league initially, but after
careful thought it decided to give the team “jerseys and a slap on the
Amphitrion is confident in their chances in this year’s tournament. They state, “We have high goals for winning, even though it is our first year. Without trying to sound arrogant we believe we are the best team to ever play in this league. We have the confidence, the team-work, and the leadership that it takes to win it all. We look forward to dominating this league for many years to come.” The team has also a lot to say about the chances of the remaining teams in the field, commenting, “As for other teams, we think Lola’s is the second best. We think that being named after a flower shop entitles you to bonus points that can never be reflected in game scores. It is obvious that the food at Nick's Diner is really wholesome and is more appropriate for middle linebackers than for basketball players. Vourvoura has a knack for making it appear that there is more than one of the same player on the court, which is terribly confusing. DCGreeks.com also has this knack. Panorama should have Pete DJ the games so they feel more comfortable on the court.” Despite its goal of winning the league in its first year, Amphitrion recognizes what Greek League is all about. They add, “We love playing in this league and are here for the fun of it. We have met a lot of great people and we hope to participate for many years to come. Take care and good luck to everyone."
#2. Vourvoura (7-3)
The #2 seed in this year's tournament is one of the founding teams of the league and perennial tournament favorite, Vourvoura, who after losing their top two scorers to injury have limped into this year's playoffs with two straight losses. Vourvoura was started by the Papoulias twins, Demetri and Nick, and is named after the region in Greece from which the Papoulias' parents hail. The Vourvoura Society is responsible for purchasing the teams jerseys. Demetri Papoulias explains, "We chose Forest Green as our team color because that is the color of the town (either that or brown for all the dirt roads)."
#4. Papa John's (7-3)
Papa John's, the team formerly sponsored by the Shark Club, sports the colors of the pizza franchise owned locally by team member Michael Passas, who formed the team from players he knew. Papa John's has a very deep roster and is always looking to add players.
Papa John's roster includes:
Both Philhellenes, Dowling and Moulton, were brought to the team by Stamos.
#5. The Rebellion (6-4)
#6. Mamma's (6-4)
#7. DCGreeks.com (5-5)
Another newcomer to the league, DCGreeks.com was started by the Chronis twins after they were approached by teammate Pete Crassas to play in Greek League last year when it was already too late to register a team for the league. They could have approached other teams to play with this year but decided that there’s no better way to prove to the world that your business will be around for the long-haul than to slap its name on something athletic (like Enron, or PSI Net), and therefore started their own team. The Chronis brothers knew that ex-DCGreeks.com founder John Markos would be their starting shooting guard, and knew that philhellene Matt Muller, with his love of Greek festivals and more so the food at these Greek festivals, especially loukoumades, which he affectionately refers to as "Golden Goodness," would fill out two more roster spots. They added Greek League veteran, Alex Stathopoulos, and relative newcomer to the DC area, Thanos Basdekis to the mix to fill out the last couple of spots on the team. DCGreeks.com is the only team in the league with no GOYA basketball experience whatsoever.
DCGreeks.com recognizes that it will have to pretty much beat every team that it has lost to during the regular season to advance in this year's playoffs. "We have the ability to hang with any team in this league. If we beat a team, more often than not, it'll be close. We also have the ability to lose to any team in this league by over 15 points. We don't know which DCGreeks.com team will show up on any given day."
"The sleeper team in this year's tournament is Lola's. They blew us out by 20 points in the first week of the season, and they've played everyone else close. If they get past us in the first round, watch out Vourvoura, because Lola's just might be the team to end Vourvoura's run of four straight final four appearances."
"We think any of the top six teams has a good chance to win this thing, with the exception of Vourvoura, unless they come back healthy with all their starters."
DCGreeks.com has gone anywhere from packing the stands to no fans at all, with girlfriends, friends of girlfriends, a fiancée, and even one teammate's mother coming to watch its games.
#8. Painters (4-6)
#9. Hercules (4-6)
#10. Lola's Flower Garden (2-8)
Lola's Flower Garden enters the tournament as the 10th seed after a much-needed win against Panorama last Sunday that kept them out of the dreaded 12th
position. Lola's is sponsored by Lola's Flower Garden, a DC florist owned Ike
Karavangelos' mother and uncle who bought the team its Carolina blue uniforms. The team has been playing in the league for three years, with some of its players leaving other teams to join Lola's. Ike Karavangelos formed the team after a falling out with Nick's Diner, with a base of players that mostly played for St. Constantine & Helen's and went to Good Counsel High School. (Tim Stayeas went to St. George and Elias Zarkadoulas played for St.
Karavangelos recruited Andreas to the team as one of the teams Philhelenes. Vic Delpino, listed in the Lola's media guide as "The Mexican Superstar" also went to Good Counsel, knowing all the guys on the team from there.
#11. Nick's Diner (2-8)
Nick's Diner, a five year veteran of Greek League is sponsored by Nick's Diner in Wheaton, which is owned by the father of one of the teams players. Like many of the teams in the league, the Greek players on Nick's Diner all grew up together, playing for Sts. Constantine & Helen's GOYA from 1986 to 1993. Their one Philhellene, Greg comes to Greek dances and other Greek functions with members of the team.
Nick's Diner's roster is as follows:
The 12th seed in the tournament, Panorama is sponsored by Panorama Productions. Team Co-owner and GM Pete Moutso decided to go along with fellow co-owner Antonis Karagunis suggestion of naming the team after his primary holding Panorama Productions of which Karigunis owns 100% and is the CEO, CFO, and Director of Sales and Marketing. "Oh yeah, and Antonis paid the team fees and bought the uniforms, so we didn't really have much choice," adds team member Demetri Agellis. The core members of Panorama have been together for the last three years although Pete Moutso, Andre De Moya, and Chris "Buff" Dyer all played together on the "SPY GUYS" team in the late 90's, during the league's inception. Moutso, De Moya and Dyer have know each other from the SPY club days. Agellis explains, "Most of the guys on the team have known each other from growing up together. Kosta and Pete met at the University of MD. Demitri and Arthur grew up with Pete. John Burns and honorary team member Paul Handakis have known each other from their GOYA days."
The Philhelenes on the squad are Andre De Moya and Chris Dyer. "The way Andre (De Moya) conducts his business I don't understand how he is not considered Greek," Agellis comments, "He makes more under the table than most Greeks I know. "Chris (Dyer) made friends built great with a lot of Greeks over the years by doing one thing.....SERVING THEM ALCOHOL. He knew the quickest way to make a Greek a friend was to give them a beer...or a shot... or anything else that contained alcohol. Half the players in the league are former clients of Chris's from back in the SPY CLUB days. Now Chris has return business from his bartending days in his new line of business, Real estate."