Nick Calathes Mainstay of Greek National Hoop Team

Rick Pitino (right) with Nick Calathes. Photo by Thanassis Dimopoulos/EUROKINISSI.

When you talk Greek basketball the word – words – are Yiannis Antetokounmpo, the Milwaukee Bucks superstar and NBA MVP but don’t forget a real veteran for the national team, Greek-American Nick Calathes, from Florida, where he was a storied high school and college star.

Now 30, he has just finished his fourth straight and seventh overall season with Athens power Panathinaikos and is one of the stalwarts of the national team heading to the world tourney.

He took some time out from Greece to play for Team Hines in Chicago’s The Basketball Tournament, a $2 million prize winner, bowing out in the semi-finals to the Golden Eagles, made up of Marquette alumni hoop stars.

Calathes told TalkBasket.net he had to leave what he describes as a “fun experience” for the sake of the Greek National Team which had already started preparation and practices for the upcoming FIBA World Cup in China that begins on Aug. 31.

He didn’t play for the 2006 Greek team that upset the USA, 101-96 in the world tourney semi-final and hasn’t been able to get Greece into the Olympics but was part of the team that won the bronze medal at the 2009 Eurobasket tourney, hoping he and Antetokounmpo can bring home silver or gold at the world tourney.