Is he a center, a forward or a guard? Will he play Division 3, 2, or possibly even 1 next year in college? This is certain, Greg Vlassopoulos loves the game of basketball, and he’s determined to be part of it. From his alma mater, Garnet Valley High School, where he’s a senior starter, to his former GOYA team from St. Lukes Greek Orthodox Church in Broomall, Pennsylvania, where he was a league MVP, and every team he runs with in between, he keeps getting better. And now, the college coaches and scouts are starting to notice.
“I play year round. When I finish here, I play on traveling teams in other leagues in the Mid-Atlantic region. I see myself constantly improving in all parts of my game, and I want to see how far I can go,” says Vlassopoulos during a recent interview.
At Garnet Valley High School, where he plays for the Jaguars, Vlassopoulos plays the gamut of positions. We went out to watch Vlassopoulos play against Strath Haven. He started the game off as the center jumping for the ball and then shifted to a guard. He later switched to a forward, where his team needed help along the baseline. We watched him dominate there, as a forward, where he controlled the boards. In most games, he’s regularly coming up in double figures with rebounds. On offense, he’s the most consistent scorer on the team and averages eighteen points. His ability to control the tempo of the game and pass well was evident. Vlassopoulos would slip by players and score from under the basket, on fast breaks and the perimeter. His coach, Mike Brown, describes him as “ a critical member of this team in a lot of ways.”
He’s been described by Prep Live News, as “an under-the-radar piece of the Garnet puzzle.” Perhaps it’s his subtle approach. Vlassopoulos has the ability to put you at ease when you play him. And then, suddenly glide right past you and get above the rim for an “alley-oop” at the basket, which we witnessed against Strath Haven. It wasn’t a fluke either.
He pulled the same move no less than three times that night. Then later, managed to dish off some great passes to his teammates as well, adding to his all-around ability. “I love distributing the ball,” says Vlassopoulos. “At Garnet, I usually play guard, but when I get to college, I will likely play either a point guard or shooting guard. I feel I can play anywhere on the court,” added Vlassopoulos.
Vlassopoulos grew up playing basketball with his dad in the backyard of their home and in the GOYA (Greek Orthodox Youth Association). His dad, Tim Vlassopoulos, has been a mentor to Greg as well as a former player. Tim played for St. Demetrios GOYA in the early 1980s, when they won the GOYA national championship – the only team from Philadelphia to ever achieve that level.
Over time, Tim saw Greg’s natural ability and his love of the game grow, but it needed nurturing. Tim got Greg a trainer and signed him up onto the St. Lukes GOYA team where he immediately became a rising standout. Greg played for several years in GOYA and became a league MVP, and his team won a championship just two years ago. They probably would have challenged for the title this past year, had Greg stayed on, but Greg, like so many other young Greek American athletes playing in high school and having college in their future, have to make sacrifices.
So Greg gave up GOYA basketball. “I miss it a lot. All my friends are there, and I really enjoyed the playoffs, championships and the all-star game. I had a lot of fun being part of GOYA, but I can’t afford getting hurt again,” says Vlassopoulos. “I have to focus on the future, playing next year in college,” added Vlassopoulos.
Now at 6’ foot 4’ inches tall, he’s probably topped out physically. However, as Greg said, “I have a lot of growing still to come as an athlete. I will continue to train.“ These next few months are critical to what Greg will do in the future and will likely answer the question about where he plays basketball next. Scouts and coaches have already been asking and talking to Greg about next season and where he will play. Offers are already on the table. “This game means a lot to me, and I’m going to work hard in the offseason. I’m not going to get ahead of myself, but I am thinking about the future. First college and maybe then, I can think about playing overseas”.