You can’t miss Sofoklis Schortsanitis. The premier low-post threat in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague, Big Sofo is a fearsome presence in the paint for Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv. It is no mistake that he has Maccabi back in their second Final Four in three years together or that the big man is headed to his fourth Final Four. Well-rested and ready to attack, Schortsanitis promises to make a major impact in Milan.
Schortsanitis presents a challenge few men in the sport can solve. He is one of the strongest men in basketball, but also possesses an uncanny nimbleness, both of which make him virtually unstoppable in the paint. Thus Schortsanitis often finds himself in a double team and has learned how to beat defenses by passing to the open man. On a per-minute basis, Schortsanitis is not only the best scorer and drew the most fouls in the league this season, he is among the all-time best! Accordingly, opponents must pick their poison when Schortsanitis touches the ball: pray he can be stopped with one man or commit a second defender to slow him and risk allowing an open jumper.
A native of Greece, Schortsanitis played for four different clubs in his homeland – including five seasons with Olympiacos Piraeus and one with Panathinaikos last year, but seems to have found a second home in Tel Aviv, where he clicks well with Coach David Blatt. His commitment to winning was on display in Round 2 of the Top 16 when Schortsanitis, ruled out with a sprained ankle, willed himself from crutches one day to the starting lineup the next and scored 22 points in 15 minutes to spark Maccabi to a key home win. A 2011 All-Euroleague First Team selection, the one thing lacking on Schortsanitis’s resume is a Euroleague title. After two previous appearances in the final, the big man leads a hungry group to Milan eager to change that.