Houston Rockets sign Vassilis Spanoulis
Houston Rockets General Manager Carroll Dawson announced today that the team has signed Greek guard Vassilis Spanoulis to a multi-year contract. The Rockets originally acquired the draft rights to Spanoulis (50th overall pick) from the Dallas Mavericks for the draft rights to Luis Flores (55th overall pick) on June 27, 2004.
"A couple of years ago, we drafted Vassilis based on his potential to develop into an NBA-caliber player," said Dawson. "Over the past two seasons, he has shown steady improvement playing overseas and we believe he will be a good addition to our roster this season. This past season, he played for Panathinaikos-one of the premier teams in the Euroleague-and the coaches there did a great job of preparing him for the next step in his career. He's a big guard with a good outside shot and the ability to penetrate the lane."
Spanoulis (6-4, 195, Greece) averaged 15.5 points and 3.1 assists in 23 games of Euroleague play with Panathinaikos AO Athens this past season. He also shot .618 (84-136 FG) from the field and was .368 (25-68 3FG) from 3-point range in 2005-06. The 6-foot-4 guard helped Panathinaikos win the 2005-06 Greek National League title and the 2006 Greek National Cup. Panathinaikos advanced all the way to the Euroleague Quarterfinals, where they were defeated by Tau Ceramica Baskonia in a thrilling best-of-three series to advance to the Final Four. Spanoulis' play earned him 2005-06 All-Euroleague Second-Team honors and a spot in the 2005 Greek All-Star Game.
A native of Greece, Spanoulis began his career playing with Keravnos Larissa (Greece) youth teams. He made his debut in the Greek A2 League during the 1999-2000 season with Larissa, playing there through the 2000-01 season. Spanoulis signed for the 2001-02 season with Maroussi Athens, spending a total of four seasons with Maroussi (2001-02 through 2004-05) before joining Panathinaikos this past year (2005-06).
A member of the Greek National Team, Spanoulis played in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. He also captured a gold medal with Greece at the 2005 European Championship. Spanoulis has been a member of the Greek Under-20 National Team as well, winning a gold medal at the 2002 European Under-20 Championship. His two free throws with 13 seconds helped to seal a 77-73 win over Spain in the gold-medal game. In addition, Spanoulis was a member of the Greek Junior National Team, capturing a bronze medal at the 2000 European Junior Championship.
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