Texas’ leading returning scorer, Ioannis Papapetrou signed a professional contract to play overseas with Olympiacos B.C. last Tuesday, leaving the Longhorns before the start of his sophomore season.
The deal is for five years and worth approximately $2 million, according to an ESPN report.
Papapetrou had a strong summer overseas playing for the Greek national team, averaging 15.9 points and 5.3 rebounds per contest. Greek teams had overwhelmed Papapetrou with professional offers earlier this summer, but he had spurned any deals up to this point. However, this contract appeared to be too enticing to pass up.
“The professional team in Greece approached Papi and his family again this week before he was set to leave to come back to campus, and the team basically created a contract that catered exactly to his needs and the wishes of his family,” said Texas head coach Rick Barnes in a statement. “In the end, the contract was too much for him and his family to say ‘no’ to in their situation.”
Papapetrou is the latest of four players to leave the Longhorn basketball program, including point guard Myck Kabongo, who left Texas early for the NBA draft.
Papapetrou, a would-be sophomore, was set to be a key piece for a young Texas squad that finished 16-18 last season and seventh in the Big 12 with a 7-11 mark. It was the first time in the Rick Barnes era that the Longhorns missed the NCAA tournament.
This leaves Texas with 11 scholarship players on its roster, only one of whom is an upperclassmen, forward Jonathan Holmes. The Longhorns’ top four scorers from last season are no longer with the team, leaving point guard Javan Felix, who averaged 6.8 points a contest last year, as the offensive catalyst.
Outside of Holmes and Felix, Texas will lean heavily upon the post presence of its trio of Cameron Ridley, Connor Lammert and Prince Ibeh. Freshman shooting guard Damarcus Croaker will also factor heavily into Texas’ offensive plans.