- Myron Medcalf, ESPN Staff Writer
- 0 Shares
Coach Fred Hoiberg added size to his lineup as Iowa State announced the signing of Greek national team center Georgios Tsalmpouris on Monday.
The 7-foot-1 Tsalmpouris, who is from Veria, Greece, won't turn 18 until June. He will compete in the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain this summer before joining the Cyclones in the fall. Tsalmpouris will be eligible to play for Iowa State immediately.
"As an elementary school student in Greece I started playing basketball having a dream, a big dream, for a country boy from a small rural town named Katerini," Tsalmpouris said via the school's release on the signing. "I hoped that one day I would be able to cross the Atlantic Ocean and playing basketball at a big university.
"Today I feel blessed because my dream came true on the best possible scenario. I am joining the Iowa State basketball team. I am so grateful to Coach Hoiberg and Coach [Matt] Abdelmassih, who recruited me and gave me the opportunity to learn from the best and contribute to the future success of the Iowa State basketball program."
The teenager rejected interest from Greek professional teams and instead joined the Cyclones, where he'll likely come off the bench next season, per a source close to the program.
Cooke averaged 8.2 points per game while shooting 46 percent from 3-point range as a freshman in 2013-14. He'll sit out next season and have three years of eligibility left.
The 6-foot-3 combo guard from Union City, New Jersey, told The Associated Press that he built a strong relationship with Iowa State's players during a visit earlier this month. He also said the opportunity to join a winning program and play for Hoiberg factored into his decision to join the Cyclones.
Tsalmpouris is just the seventh 7-footer the program has signed.
Marquette transfer Jameel McKay is a 6-9 forward who is expected to join Monte Morris, UNLV transfer Bryce Dejean-Jones, Dustin Hogue and Niang in next season's starting lineup. Tsalmpouris will add frontcourt depth and size that Hoiberg hasn't had during his time in Ames.
Iowa State's offseason moves have positioned the program to compete with Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma for the Big 12 title.
"Georgios gives us another big man that is able to run the floor and shoot the ball," Hoiberg said in the school's release. "He fits with how we want to play while giving us more length. I'm looking forward to helping him continue to develop as a basketball player."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.