JERSEY CITY, N.J. – For many athletically-inclined young people, sports and sports scholarships can be a great means to pay for an increasingly expensive college education.
With the increasing popularity of basketball around the world, the competition for such scholarships is intense. Only the best of the best can make it through even on the high school level.
Dimitris Plexidas was born and raised in Greece, but his talent as a basketball player brought him to the United States to participate in basketball camps in recent years.
Two years ago, the Greek teen was the MVP (most valuable player) at the Seton Hall Basketball camp.
The honor and their son’s excitement over it made his parents realize that his future was in the United States and not in Greece, as their cousin Harry Prassakos told The National Herald.
Dimitri’s parents, Nikos and Kiki Stoumpou-Plexidas, are both from Ptolemaida. Dimitri’s mother is Harry’s father George Prassakos’ first cousin.
Dimitri has an older sister Caterina studying theater in Thessaloniki and a younger sister, Glykeria who is in middle school. Dimitri moved in with his aunt and uncle, Prassakos’ parents, George and Konstantina Prassakos in Flushing, N.Y.
Prassakos told TNH that “the family explored his going to schools in Queens, but in the end, St. Anthony’s in Jersey City really liked him and it all worked out for him to attend there. I actually recommended that he go to High School in Queens and that the commute would be difficult, but he and his parents decided it would be worth the long commute. It looks like it was the right choice.”
Plexidas filled out his paperwork for his visa to attend high school and since September 2016, he commutes from Flushing to Jersey City, N.J. to attend St. Anthony’s High School, famous for its basketball program and Coach Bobby Hurley, Sr.
Dimitri says “I feel honored that I have the opportunity to play on such a good team with a great history and the best High School coach in the world!”
Head Coach for St. Anthony High School for 44 years, Hurley was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in August 2010, only the second high school coach in history to receive the honor. His career record stands at 1162-119.
He has led teams to 28 State Parochial titles, four National titles (1989, 1996, 2008, 2011) and eight undefeated seasons (1974, 1989, 1996, 2004, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2016). Coach Hurley achieved his 1000th win on February 2, 2011.
He is #3 on the NFHS (National Federation of State High School Association) list of coaches with the most wins in boys basketball history (behind #2 Morgan Wootten and #1 Robert Hughes).
Seven of Hurley’s players have gone on to the NBA: David Rivers (LA Lakers, 1988), Bobby Hurley (LA Kings, 1993), Terry Dehere (LA Clippers, 1993), Roderick Rhodes (Houston Rockets, 1997), Roshawn McLeod (Atlanta Hawks, 1998), Tyshawn Taylor (Brooklyn Nets, 2012), and Kyle Anderson (San Antonio Spurs, 2014).
At age 17, Dimitris Plexidas has a bright future ahead of him after making the basketball team and Hall of Famer Coach Hurley allowing him to start in the January 8 game when the then-undefeated team played against Blair Academy in Hackettstown, N.J. St. Anthony’s Friars won the game 52-48.
They followed that game with another win. Unfortunately, back-to-back losses followed and the team’s record is now 9-2, but with legendary Coach Hurley leading the way, the team is bound to bounce back.
The talented Plexidas with his impressive playing, racking up rebounds, a steal, and five three-pointers in only a few games played can only help the team.
As his cousin Harry Prassakos noted, “Division 1 colleges are already looking into him attending at a full scholarship which would be the only way for his family to afford college in the United States.”