[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; 30 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

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
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.


[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 16 now and guessing when we’re through it will be more than 20, maybe even 30. 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

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. (mother Joan Petrakos)

Brandyn Michaels, SOPH., St. Viator

John Nikitas, Lake Forest

Joey Pantazis, JR., Niles West

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



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


For more information contact Frank Korbos 708.691.8500

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


(CHICAGO, IL, USA; WEDS DEC 28, 2022): The National Hellenic Invitational Basketball Tournament – America’s oldest and biggest Greek basketball tournament – will be hosting its annual Junior Division tournament on the weekend of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, January 13 to 15, 2023. Deadline to register is January 4, 2023.

Games will be held at Sts. Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church in Palos Hills, St. Nicholas GO Church in Oak Lawn, and other parish locations throughout Chicagoland, as needed.  Fee schedules in PDF image.

The Junior Division Tournament has been growing in popularity in recent years and in early 2022 fielded a record number of teams and players. With that, NHIBT officials request parents, parishioners and coaches to begin the process of registration at the earliest their schedules allow.

Inquiries to Frank Korbos 708.691.8500

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



Congratulations to Sophia Skoubis who officially signed to play D1 Women’s Soccer at the University of Missouri!
Go Tigers!

When Jimmy Sotos finished his junior year at Bucknell, he knew he had a decision to make. The point guard had one year left to play and would either spend a fourth year with the Bison or put his name in the transfer portal and hope to end his college basketball career with a high-major program.

Having performed well with Bucknell when the team played top competition, Sotos believed he would have an opportunity and decided to take his chances with the portal.

“I knew what decision I wanted to make,” Sotos told Bucknuts. “I knew I wanted to go somewhere where basketball was going to work out, where I have an opportunity to play a big role and help the team win.”

This is not to say Sotos had a poor experience at Bucknell. It was actually quite the opposite.

Growing up in a basketball home — his father played professionally in Greece for one year and his three older brothers all played in college — Sotos was entrenched in the game. While basketball was in his blood, he lacked the height to attract scholarship offers.

Heading into his final AAU season, Sotos — who grew from 5-foot-2 as a freshman to 6-foot-3 finally by his senior year at Conant High School in Elk Grove Village, Illinois — had no offers. Playing well for the Under Armour Association changed that.

“That summer, I got about 20 mid-major offers,” Sotos said. “I got some interest from some high-major schools and they were telling me if I did a year at prep school I could get some offers but I just wanted to get to college.”

At Bucknell, Sotos saw an opportunity to play early on that blended well with what he wanted academically. While he wasn’t a regular starter for the Bison, Sotos played 22.3 minutes per game as a freshman, averaging 4.8 points and two assists.

That season, Bucknell went 25-10 and won both the Patriot League regular season and tournament titles. The Bison made the NCAA Tournament as a No. 14 seed and faced Michigan State in the first round.

Bucknell gave the third-seeded Spartans a scare, eventually falling 82-78, but Sotos, who scored five points and registered two assists in 24 minutes, remembers fondly getting to and playing in the Big Dance for the first time.

“The obvious one would be winning the conference championship as a freshman,” Sotos said of his standout memory with the Bison. “That realization, that lifelong dream of going dancing and going to the tournament is coming true, it was an unreal feeling. I’ll never forget that. That was easily the best experience, most memorable experience I’ve had at Bucknell.”

Sotos sophomore season with the Bison was nearly as successful. As a starter, the point guard increased his averages to 8.2 points, 6.1 assists and 30.5 minutes per game. Bucknell shared the Patriot League regular season title with Colgate, after going 21-10 overall and 13-5 in conference play, but fell to the Raiders in the tournament’s finale meaning no return trip to the NCAA Tournament.

It was Sotos’ junior year where things really changed. Despite averaging 11.5 points and 3.9 assists in 32.1 minutes per game, the Bison struggled, stumbling to a 14-20 record and a seventh place finish in the Patriot League standings.

For Sotos and many of his teammates, it was the first time being on a losing team and the point guard admitted he did not handle it well at first.

“Guys started to get away from each other, we all started to get a little, not selfish but we were all kind of thinking about ourselves too much,” Sotos said. “We definitely would get too low on the losses and probably get too high on the wins as well. It was just a rough year. But looking back on it, I was able to come out of it positively.

“I honestly didn’t deal with it as well as I should have but I definitely matured from it, I learned a lot from it and the way I approach the game now… I kind of look at the game differently, in a more serious light.”

Once the year ended and Sotos made his decision to enter the transfer portal, it was about deciding where he wanted to play next. This time around, the recruitment process was different. Not only did the coronavirus pandemic mean Sotos couldn’t visit schools and meet coaches in person, but he also had interest from a host of programs that desired the point guard’s services.

Photo: Icon Sportswire, Getty

One of those schools was Ohio State, a program Sotos knew a bit about. Bucknell came to Columbus in December of 2018 in a game Sotos scored 12 points and registered five assists in a narrow 73-71 defeat at Value City Arena.

“I remember that game,” Sotos said of taking on the Buckeyes. “I think we were winning going into halftime and we lost a really close one. We had a shot at the buzzer to win it but it wasn’t a good look. I had a good game that game and that’s why when they reached out, it helped that they had seen me play and I had a good game against them so they knew what I was capable of. And I played against them so I knew their style of play, I knew how Coach coached in-game. So that definitely helped to make this decision, that trust.”

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In his new program, Sotos didn’t care much about seeing the campus. He wanted a place where he could contribute to a successful program that would help him further his basketball career. In addition, Sotos looked for good academics and coaches he could relate to. He found that all at Ohio State.

“When I started talking to (the Ohio State coaches), we hit it off right away,” Sotos said. “I was able to check out their roster, I was able to talk to some guys that I know around the NCAA that know the coaching staff at Ohio State and I’ve heard nothing but great things about them and how they’re men of integrity, how they do their job and how they’re professionals. And when I talked to the coaches, I saw that there would be a role that I could fill potentially and play a huge role in that position and help the team win.”

Sotos committed to Ohio State on April 6. He became the latest in a line of transfer point guards under Chris Holtmann who sat out a season before taking over reins of the Buckeyes. But unlike many transfers around the country, Sotos sees the year of not playing as a good thing.

According to the point guard, the 2020-21 season will allow Sotos to get his body where it needs to be to play in the Big Ten, work on his skills and get acclimated to the Scarlet and Gray’s style of play. “The year to develop was actually one of the reasons that sold me.”

Going forward, it’s all about Ohio State for Sotos. As one of three incoming transfers, including fellow point guard Abel Porter and forward Seth Towns, Sotos then had to get to campus once he was allowed. He had already started to get to know his teammates in group Zoom meetings.

Going forward, life is about building on everything he accomplished and learned in three years at Bucknell and preparing to help the Buckeyes behind the scenes next year and on the court in 2021-22.

“Apart from developing my personal game and just getting better as a basketball player, I want to definitely establish myself as a leader when it’s my year to play,” Sotos said. “I want to become an extension of coach Holtmann when I’m on the court. I think there’s a culture at Ohio State that’s established and I want to carry that and I want to keep that and I want to keep that going. I just want to do my part in my year off and get better, but then when it’s time for me to play, I hope that the work I put in it translates. So hopefully I can be an extension of the coach when I’m on the court and all that.”


It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of Mrs. Chloe Nicholson.  Chloe was the wife of the late Frank Nicholson, NHIBT Hall of Fame basketball coach.  She was a Sunday School teacher, cheerleading program director, Scout leader and a mentor to many children who attended St. Demetrios Church in Chicago. She was a second mother to all the Greek basketball players from St. Demetrios in the 60’s and 70’s. Our deepest condolences to her family and to all that loved her and her beautiful spirit.  Rest in peace alongside, Coach, and your daughter Pam.

Follow Apollo aims to teach Greek traditions and culture to kids all around the world. Katerina Mallios, born in Boston and now living in Chicago talks to Greek City Times about the company she created from her passion and love for Greek culture.

“I feel that growing up outside of Greece slowly disconnects us from our culture and traditions. We kind of lose sight of what it means to be Greek”, says Katerina.

The young Greek woman was inspired by the famous Elf on the Shelf, a stuffed doll that comes out at Christmas time and is widely known in the US. “I just thought that it would be really useful and smart to find a way of spreading knowledge and awareness about Greece and that’s how Follow Apollo was born!”

Katerina hopes Apollo will help kids learn Greek

Follow Apollo aims to help Greek families around the world teach their kids about Greek history, traditions and customs in a fun and engaging way. Its first product is a hardcover book and plush toy that talks about Greek Easter. Children are given the opportunity to learn about Holy Week, Palm Sunday and all relevant religious Festivities regarding Pascha.

Apollo, the main character travels through time and space with his horse Troy, teaching siblings Athena and Dino more about Easter. Along the way, over 50 Greek words are explained and translated; with the help of Apollo, kids will learn how to spell and use the keywords. Furthermore, there is an English-Greek glossary included.

*Follow Apollo on his Easter journey

Katerina, born and raised in the US and feels proud of her Greek roots. She thinks that understanding where you come from is crucial for future generations and that is what she is trying to achieve through Follow Apollo; educate and inform kids in an entertaining and captivating way.

“Growing up in places around the world makes it even more important to stay connected to our roots – to understand what it means to be Greek and maintain our values and beliefs. And how are we going to do that, if we do not pass our knowledge and heritage to the future generations?” says Katerina.

More themes are to follow and even more aspects of the Greek culture and history are going to be introduced in future books, she adds.

You can get your Follow Apollo here: thefollowapolloseries

CHICAGO — For 61 years, a wiry white-haired man has reigned king of Maine West High School’s center court.

He’s not the coach. In fact, he never played on the team.

“What can I tell you? I’m on a mission for the team,” smiles Nick Ladas.

At 78, Ladas has the spirit of a student a quarter of his age.

“He gets pretty excited. Sometimes we have to keep him under wraps as we go to play rivals because he gets so fired up for games,” says head coach Tom Prokopij.

They call him Maine West’s CMO… Chief Morale Officer. He attends nearly every practice and all the games, high fiving and calling out players by name.

Ladas has been walking the halls of Maine West High School since he started there as a freshman in 1959.

He says he has no plans to leave just yet.

“I’m holding out for the boys to win a state title!” Says Ladas. “It’ll come and I want to be here when it happens.”