Louka, former T-Wolves scholar, paid to play in Sweden
Vasiliki Louka is having fun with his new job in Sweden.
Not solely can she play basketball, a sport that allowed her to develop into a star with the UNBC Timberwolves, however she not sinks baskets and blocks pictures only for enjoyable, she will get paid to play.
Louka frequently serves as a ahead for the Swedish skilled ladies’s basketball crew in Helsingborg, Sweden. The crew struggled to attain a 1-20 document and ranks final within the 12-team league, however Louka has loads of enjoying time and says the general high quality of the Swedish league is larger than that of the very best ladies’s skilled league in Greece, the place she performed. final 12 months for Olympiakos in his hometown of Athens.
“I do not (rating) like I used to in school, however I am doing my greatest,” Louka stated throughout a Zoom name from Sweden on Monday. “It is a totally different degree, quite a lot of professionals, quite a lot of Individuals, so it is not that straightforward. Once you play professionally it’s a must to enhance in each side of your sport as a result of there are quite a lot of gamers like me enjoying in Europe.
“I feel I perceive the sport higher now, undoubtedly a greater defender as a result of I must maintain gamers my dimension enjoying in Europe for a number of years.”
That is his second skilled season since graduating from UNBC within the spring of 2019 and Louka, 24, is on the nationwide crew’s radar in his residence nation.
Listed at six-foot-four on the Swedish league’s web site, Louka has two extra video games to play with Helsingborg earlier than returning to Greece to start out a month-long coaching camp in mid-Could. She might be one in every of 14 members of the nationwide crew making ready for the Girls’s EuroBasket, a 16-team match from June 17-27 in Spain and France. The Olympic match can also be on the horizon later this summer season in Tokyo.
“Right here in Sweden the league is fairly good, it is higher than the Greek league … there are extra groups with higher lineups, so for me this 12 months is an excellent lesson and subsequent 12 months I hope I can provide you with a greater league, ”Louka stated.
“I am unable to wait to complete the season in good well being, to return to Greece, to coach with the nationwide crew and from there perhaps attempt to qualify for the Olympics. It is not straightforward, there are too many good nationwide groups, however we will strive to achieve success, you by no means know.
Louka was chosen this week for the UNBC Wall of Honor and can quickly take her place on the wall of the Northern Sports activities Middle, the place an enormous poster-sized picture of her sport for the Timberwolves might be hung.
“I’m actually excited and really grateful for this, not everybody can have the identical expertise,” Louka stated.
Louka joined the T-Wolves as an 18-year-old rookie in 2014, as Russian coach Sergey Shechepotkin took the reins at UNBC and steadily made the crew a winner. Already accustomed to enjoying at the next degree with the Greek Nationwide Underneath-18 crew, Louka has frequently attracted enjoying minutes on the pitch in her first two seasons and has established herself as a dominant participant beneath the basket and her groups. of T-wolves responded yearly. with extra wins than the earlier season.
Underneath Louka, the T-Wolves made the Canada West playoffs for the very first time in 2017 and repeated the feat in 2018, whereas Louka set crew data for factors and rebounds. in a single season. Of their final season of school eligibility, the T-Wolves have been 9-9 this season, their first-ever unbeaten document since becoming a member of Canada West in 2012.
UNBC went on to say their first playoff victory, beating Trinity Western 80-78, earlier than being swept away by top-ranked Calgary within the two-game quarterfinal. Louka was named Canada West’s First Workforce Star, the primary feminine T-wolf to earn the distinction, and ended her profession as UNBC’s prime feminine athlete for a 3rd consecutive season. She is the T-Wolves’ all-time chief in factors, rebounds, blocks and minutes performed and ranks within the prime 5 for profession assists and steals.
“We constructed the crew like household, in my first 12 months we had so many rookies and second 12 months gamers and enjoying collectively for a number of years really made us really feel like household,” Louka stated. . “Sergey did an excellent job attracting worldwide gamers and in addition superb Canadian gamers and we had an excellent crew. The truth that now we have tried rather a lot to enhance ourselves and present everybody that we’re a superb crew and need to be on this league and that Sergey has accomplished an excellent job discovering internationals has additionally helped this system to evolve and has helped us as gamers to evolve. an excessive amount of,”
Louka was recruited in Greece by Shechepotkin and the choice for her to return to UNBC was made simpler by the truth that her older brother Vaggelis was additionally becoming a member of the T-Wolves on the similar time. The T-Wolves’ ladies’s crew had struggled the earlier three seasons since arriving on the Canada West Convention as a varsity crew in 2012 and with no hope of successful, Shechepotkin began a youth motion that accelerated Louka’s growth.
“Once I first arrived I noticed that Sergey was enjoying the identical kind of basketball that I used to be enjoying, nonetheless very quick with a number of transitions and many fast breaks, however he nonetheless wished us to assume it over and that we have been placing our minds within the sport and I feel that is what made us distinctive in a method, ”Louka stated.
“When Maria (Mongomo) got here in she was a wise participant, Maddy (Landry) got here too and he or she was a extremely sensible participant and that is why we succeeded. We had gamers who weren’t simply good athletes, they have been sensible at enjoying basketball.
“Once I got here to Prince George, I discovered what it takes to coach to be a superb athlete, not only a good basketball participant. You do not simply must discover ways to put the ball within the basket, you will have to have the ability to outrun your defender, get forward of your defender, to enhance on the rebounds. Sergey helped me discover myself and let me play rather a lot, which could be very uncommon for a rookie.
Louka has stated his brother Vaggelis is in a semi-professional league in Athens however isn’t enjoying this 12 months resulting from COVID and is taking the 12 months to do his obligatory army coaching in Greece. She additionally stays in touch with Mongomo, who now performs professionally in the very best ladies’s league in her native Spain for Membership Baloncetro Bembibre.