After nearly a month of rumor-mongering, news has leaked that Texas Longhorns sophomore shooting guard Ioannis Papapetrou has decided to sign with Olympiacos, the well-known program in the senior Greek Basketball League. Papapetrou had shown quite well playing for the Greek National Team in the U20 Euro Championships this summer, and his performance sparked interest from professional clubs in Europe.
Burnt Orange Nation's Jeff Haley had been following the story closely, and the latest update had Papapetrou rejecting a five-year contract reportedly worth 1.2 million euros. Instead, it appears that the two sides have finalized contract negotiations, and Papapetrou will instead join the reigning Euroleague Champions. The agreement was broken by Eurohoops.net.
Double hit by @olympiacosbc! Ioannis Papapetrou (20, 2.06, SF) from University of Texas is the new member of the Euroleague champs!— Eurohoops.net (@Eurohoopsnet) August 20, 2013
Papapetrou had an up-and-down freshman season with the Longhorns, but flashed the most potential in his freshman class. He was expected to return as a team leader and go-to scorer, utilizing his size and skill to become one of the better small forwards in college basketball.
Instead, Texas head coach Rick Barnes will now revert back to his traditional three-guard lineups, presumably with a freshman like Damarcus Croaker or Martez Walker filling the 3 spot in the starting lineup. Along with the transfers of rising juniors Sheldon McClellan and Julien Lewis, Papapetrou's departure leaves yet another hole on the Texas roster.
Barnes has done a poor job in both talent evaluation and talent development in recent years, but Papapetrou looked like one of the few gems. Instead, Texas basketball fans are left with just another "what could have been" as the team looks to be en route to a bottom half Big 12 finish.
The calls for Barnes' head are very real, and it appears unlikely that the embattled coach will do much of anything this season to alleviate the pressure for Texas Longhorns, Inc. to replace the head of its basketball program. If this is truly Barnes' last season in Austin, the end looks like it will come with a whimper and not a bang.