Aki Palmer (pictured here coaching club basketball in CSU’s Moby Arena) has been hired as the new Fort Collins High School boys basketball coach. He is an FCHS alumnus and former CSU basketball player.
PROVIDED BY AKI PALMER

Fort Collins High School has a new boys basketball coach and it’s a familiar one for longtime local hoops fans.

Lambkins’ alumnus and former Colorado State player Aki Palmer has been hired as the next FCHS boys coach, athletic director Kyle Tregoning said Tuesday.

“I am honored and excited to have the opportunity to lead the Fort Collins High School boys basketball program,” Palmer said. “Basketball has always been a significant part of my life and I am eager to share my knowledge and enthusiasm with the next generation of student-athletes at my alma mater.”

Palmer played at Fort Collins in the mid-1990s and was the program’s all-time assists leader. After a junior college stint, the point guard was a two-year starter at CSU from 1999-2001, averaging eight points and three assists per game.

He’s spent the past decade coaching club basketball in Northern Colorado and is also the executive director at Cushman & Wakefield in commercial real estate.

“His excitement to come back to his alma mater was just unbelievable,” Tregoning said. “He wants it to be a special place where players feel like they belong and want to be a part of it.”

One of Palmer’s two sons will also be entering Fort Collins High School this upcoming year.

Palmer takes over for Bruce Dick, who went 46-28 (with a 2023 Great 8 berth) in his three seasons, turning around a Lambkins program that was 24-60 the previous four seasons.

Fort Collins parted ways with Dick last month, citing a desire for a coach more involved in building all levels of Lambkins basketball, including the junior varsity and “C” teams.

“He checked all the boxes in the interview with what we were looking for,” Tregoning said of Palmer.

Fort Collins loses three of its top five scorers from this past season’s Class 6A playoff squad, including all-state second-teamer/leading 6A scorer Jayce King.

source: eu.coloradoan.com

Papaflessas women’s team, representing the NHIBT at the 2023 Supreme AHEPA Convention in Las Vegas

The National Hellenic Invitational Basketball Tournament is thrilled to announced that a Chicagoland team triumphed in the women’s division at the 101st AHEPA Family Supreme Convention, held July 23-29 in Las Vegas.

A resounding congratulations to all the talented and dedicated girls who made this achievement possible. Your hard work and commitment have made our NHIBT organization, family, and community extremely proud.

Another Chicago entry at the Vegas tournament, sponsored by Papaflessas

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the AHEPA committee for their exceptional organization of this event and the entire convention week. We also want to express our appreciation to everyone who supported our ladies’ team throughout this journey.

To all the participants, congratulations on your remarkable efforts. We wish you continued success in all your future endeavors and look forward to seeing you again soon!

Warmly, we are sincerely yours,

NHIBT Board Members

CONGRATULATIONS!!

Illinois' Nikki Kerstein is headed to Greece to play with the National Juniors Team. Image credit: W. Kerstein

[CHICAGO, IL, USA] The Chicago Greek community is beaming with pride this week as one of our own was recently selected to play for the National Juniors basketball team for Greece! At just 15 years of age, Deerfield High School (Ilinois) All-State player Nicolette “Nikki’ Kerstein, a National Hellenic Invitational Basketball Tournament (NHIBT) standout as well, traveled to New York this Spring for the Greek SuperLeague Athletic Academy basketball showcase event, organized by James Pristouris. Members of Federation of Greece Athletics were on hand to scout players whom they hope will one day represent Greece in the highest levels of international competition. Nikki was the only player, male or female, chosen to join the national team at this time.

Already the news has hit the Motherland, with Nikki getting featured on ANT TV in Greece. “I was really excited to be selected, and also being the only player picked,” Nikki told us. “It’s an awesome opportunity.”

Nikki, A 5’8 point guard, is a lightning-quick, silky-smooth ball handler, deft passer, ferocious defender, and as an added bonus is arguably the best shooter in the entire state of Illinois, having gone downstate her freshman year for the annual three point shootout. She’s so advanced, both physically and talent-wise, for her age group, we’ve been informed Greece might even play her at times with squads two to three years above her age level.

“That girl puts in the work,” said Deerfield girls head coach Nicole Keith. “She could have a bad shooting night and then go right back in the gym. She’s determined to shoot 1000 shots in and above what’s required in practice. She’s the first one in the gym, her and her sister, and last ones to leave. Nikki won the 100% effort award at our school. She truly embodies that you play how you practice. She’s going 100%. She deserves all that she’s receiving. I’m so incredibly honored to have her.”

We asked the coach about demeanor. “She’s very stoic so you’d never know the emotions going on in her,” revealed Keith. “Nikki was quiet in her own right. She led by her play. But there were moments when someone said something and Nikki knew when she was right and she’d correct it. She’s the quiet assassin. Even last year as a freshman, you’d never know, in close games, she’s never shaken.”

The coach continued with effusive praise. “She also has a very high IQ. Sees the floor incredibly well. She can play the point and shooting guard. She’s hitting at a high percentage of her shots. Knows where to be with or without the ball. I think she’s got so much untapped upside.”

Nikki and her older sister, Alexis “Lexi” Kerstein, this past winter led Deerfield to its first-ever trip to the Final 4, playing in one of the state’s most talent-rich regions. Lexi, also an All-State selection, graduated high school in May and will continue her basketball career at the University of Vermont this Fall. She may at some point join Team Greece but for now her college commitment, which begins in August, precludes her from competing.

The Kerstein sisters were sensations from their freshman year on, gaining All-State recognition. As a freshman and sophomore, Nikki accomplished something no other player in the state matched: She’s the only player to record 500 or more points, shoot 50-percent or better, record more than 125 assists, more than 125 steals, more than 125 rebounds, and less than 2.0 turnovers per game. Nikki also maintains a 3.9 GPA out of 4.0. She plays for Illinois Elite in the AAU, and has already been offered 31 college scholarships and counting.

The two girls come from a rich athletic tradition. Their father, Greek American William Kerstein, was an All-American football running back at Deerfield in the late 80’s who signed to play at Miami University in Florida. “It’s like a family reunion on the walls of our school, with all the pictures of dad, Lexi, and now me too,” said Nikki, who’s also played a few games at her mom’s alma mater. Her dad was also MVP of the high school division of the Harry Agganis Memorial Basketball Tournament in Massachusetts, the nation’s second-largest and second longest-running national Greek tournament. William’s grandfather, Pakia native John Kaulentis, is an NHIBT Hall-of-Famer. The girls’ mother, Anastasia “Tasia” Georganas Kerstein, is a former state champion and All-State basketball player at Maine West High School who went on to become a four-year starter at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Tasia is also well-known for singing in her father Ionnis “John” Georganas’ popular Greek band, the Opa Orchestra. John, who hails from Icalia, was one of the finest bouzouki players in the states.

Back to hoops, Nikki relates the experience playing with, and sometimes competing against her older sister. “We’re always pushing one another to be better. It’s definitely competitive. It’s good to push each other. Brings out the better sides of our games. But we’re always supporting each other at the same time. She promotes me and I love talking about her too.” Their coach chimed in, “There’s a rivalry. They’re very competitive. There’s some sister moments where I had to step in on a couple occasions. But they have great respect for each other on that court.”

Favorite thing about Greece? “It looks amazing,” Nikki said. “The art and temples and relics. The culture going back thousands of years, the great thinkers and philosophers, is really inspirational. And my mom told me so much about Mykonos I just have to visit. My favorite movie is Mama Mia. Me, Lexi and my mom have seen it maybe 100 times and the scenes in Greece are incredible. We can sing every line of the movie. My Big Fat Greek Wedding is another go-to film. Once you see those images, you think wow I just have to go there.”

As most youngsters are wont to do at her age, she likes to hang out with friends “driving around, movies, social media.” But what does Nikki love most about basketball? “It’s really a place where I can let everything go,” revealed Nikki. “It’s almost like I’m stress free, not a care in the world.”

In preparation for Greece and European tournaments, Nikki has hit up Google translate “a lot, trying to figure out common sentences. At least the main words so I can try to communicate and interact better in the native language. That’s going to be a big part of my experience. Since New York, I’ve made an effort to read up on basketball in Europe too. I feel like it’s going to be a different style and I’m bringing a different style. Hopefully I can bring something new to them and we can we can all learn from each other.”

The Kerstein girls played for Papaflessas in the NHIBT and at the Detroit Pan Orthodox Tournament.

Twitter: @nikkikerstein Instagram: @nikki_kerstein

3-point shootout downstate 2022

[CHICAGO, IL] Two weeks to go until the 93rd annual National Hellenic Invitational Basketball Tournament (NHIBT) tips off, March 30-April 2 in Chicago. Last week we featured local area boys high school varsity players. This week, it’s the girls and they’re giving the boys all they can handle! Again, NHIBT brackets will be stacked for the foreseeable future.

Did we miss anyone? Let us know on the NHIBT facebook page. We’re mostly familiar with the Chicago-Northwest Indiana region but please do send note of kids outside the NHIBT geographic area 

(NOTE: All are Illinois high schools unless otherwise designated; 31 girls and counting, including 7 Fresh/Soph…)

Pictured: L-R top row: Canellis, N. Kerstein, L. Kerstein; L-R bottom row: Karagianis, Sotiropoulos, Maridis

Anastasia Andrianopoulos, SR., Glenbard West

Demetra Antonopoulos, SOPH., Buffalo Grove

Demi Antonopoulos, SOPH., Buffalo Grove

Athena Arellanes, JR., Larkin

Josie Canellis of Sandburg eclipsed 1000 points for her high school career

Josie Canellis, SR., Sandburg (1000 points for career)

Kritika Chitnis, Naperville Central

Katerina Christofalos, SR., Libertyville

Julia Economous, Penn, Northwest Indiana

Christina Eliopoulos, Andrew

Grace Collins, St. Ignatius

Maria Fronimos, SR., Rolling Meadows

Marissa Kalamaris, SR., St. Charles East

Dina Karamagianis FR., Sandburg

Amanda Karavites, SR., Glenbrook South

The dynamic all-state duo of sisters Lexi and Nikki Kerstein. Senior Lexi will be playing at the University of Vermont this coming Fall

Lexi Kerstein, SR., Deerfield (All-State first team; 3-time All-State selection; 2000+ career points); Team went downstate to Final 4)

Nikki Kerstein, SOPH., Deerfield (All-State second team; Team went downstate to Final 4)

Lola Kolovos, SOPH, Mather

Christina Korompilas, JR., Glenbrook South

Demetrra Kyriakopoulos, New Trier

Margie Kyriakopoulos, JR., Roselle

Alexis Maridis, JR., St. Charles East

Gia Marousis, JR., St. Viator

Magdalene Mikroulis, FR., Lemont

Diana Nanos, SR., Mundelein

Sophia Palmer, New Trier

Angelina Panos, JR., Lincoln Way Central

Elena Papanicolaou, Addison Trail

Mila Photopoulos, SR., Mundeilein

Tia Poulakidas, SR., Nequa Valley

Frances Poulos, SOPH., Vernon Hill

Lia Sotiropoulos, SOPH., Munster, Indiana
Elena Stavros, Hinsdale Central
COACHING
Shannon Spanos, Montini
The 2023 NHIBT is scheduled for March 30-April 2 in Chicago. Roster deadlines are fast approaching. The committee can also place “free agents” on various teams. See home page for more information.

NHIBT Inc. NHIBT.com

[CHICAGO, IL] As the NHIBT gets set to tip off it’s 93rd annual tournament March 30-April 2 in Chicago, we take a look at local boys high school hoops. It’s been a solid year for Greeks on the local prep level. NHIBT brackets will be stacked for the foreseeable future.

Did we miss anyone? Let us know on the NHIBT facebook page. We’re up to 24 and counting. We’re mostly familiar with the Chicago-Northwest Indiana region but please do send note of kids outside the NHIBT geographic area  

L-R in image: Hadjistamoulou, A. Vassilakis, Sotos, Giannoulias

Alex Georgakas, SR., Prospect

Chris Arvanidis, SOPH., Rolling Meadows

Athan Berchos, SOPH., Andrew

Jacob Diamantos, SR., Downers Grove South

Alex Engro, SR., Loyola Academy

Owen Giannoulias, JR, Glenbrook North

Matt Hatzapoulos, Lockport

Enestis Hadjistamoulou, SOPH., Glenbrook South

Tony Illiopoulos, Sr., Palatine

Ethan Kakavetsis, Rolling Meadows

Evan Kanelos, SR., New Trier. All-Conference selection. Advanced downstate

Dimitri Karamagianis, Sandburg

Harper Krolak, JR., St. Patrick’s H.S.

Panayiotis Malamis, SR., York

Brandyn Michaels, SOPH., St. Viator

John Nikitas, Lake Forest

Joey Pantazis, JR., Niles West

Jonathan Pappas, SR., North Shore Country Day

Panayiotis Sotos, FR., Maine South

Pavlos Stamatopoulos, SR., Niles West

Drew Terpins, JR., Prospect

John Vassilakas, Lockport

Adoni Vassilakis, FR., Marist

Tim Vlahos, SR., Lyons Township

 

COACHING

Conte Stamas, Head Coach, Brother Rice

 

The 2023 NHIBT is scheduled for March 30-April 2 in Chicago. Roster deadlines are fast approaching. The committee can also place “free agents” on various teams. See home page for more information.

Girls varsity report in the coming few days.

[CHICAGO, IL] Veteran basketball coach Conte Stamas was appointed head coach of the boys team at Brother Rice High School in 2022 and this season led the Crusaders to a 29-5 record and a trip through the third round of the state playoffs, before falling 72-67 to Kenwood Academy this past Friday.

On the prep level, Stamas has coached at Hinsdale Central High School, Lyons Township H.S., and Evanston H.S. – all in Illinois.  On the collegiate level, Stamas was assistant head coach at Xavier University, and held positions at Stetson University, Thornton Community College, Morton Community College, and Elmhurst College.

Stamas is also a member of the NHIBT Hall of Fame playing for Garfield AHEPA.

Speaking of the NHIBT, the 2023 tournament is slated for March 30-April 2 in Chicago. Roster deadlines are fast approaching.

(01/09/2023; CHICAGO, IL USA) The National Hellenic Invitational Basketball Tournament today released brackets, rules and regulations, and roster and waiver forms for the various divisions of play in the Junior Tournament, to be held January 13-15, 2023 in the greater Chicagoland area.

2023 JR NHI Rules + Regulations 2023 NHIBT - 3 - 4 Division 2023 NHIBT - 5 - 6 Division 2023 NHIBT - 1-2 Division 1 2023 NHIBT - 3 - 6 Girls Division
2023 NHIBT - 1-2 Division 2

2023_NHIBT_Waiver_Form

For more information contact Frank Korbos 708.691.8500

NHIBT mission: Promote, Support, Preserve Hellenism Through Competition and Fellowship

NHIBT.com