WASHINGTON (June 11, 2015)-A rising NBA star and a standout collegiate basketball player have been selected as national honorees by the National Athletic Department of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA), a leading membership-based association for the nation’s millions of American citizens of Greek heritage and Philhellenes. The awards were announced by Supreme President Phillip Frangos and Gregory J. Stamos, Head of the National Athletic Awards. The honorees are:
- Giannis Antetokounmpo, professional basketball player, Milwaukee Bucks, and member, Greek National Basketball team, who will receive the AHEPA Harry Agganis Hellenic Athlete Award; and
- Zachary Elias Auguste, collegiate basketball player, University of Notre Dame, who will receive the AHEPA William Chirgotis Collegiate Scholar-Athlete Award
The awards will be presented at the 93rd AHEPA Supreme Convention, July 3, 2015, San Francisco, Calif.
“AHEPA is proud to recognize these two amazing talents,” Frangos said. “Both athletes have unlimited potential.
Added Stamos, “We look forward to continuing to cheer them on at the highest levels of basketball competition, for Gianni, professionally in the NBA and internationally; and for Zach, on the national collegiate stage for Notre Dame next year.
“AHEPA applauds not only the outstanding athletic accomplishments of Gianni and Zach, with each representing excellence at the professional level and the highest levels of college basketball, respectively, but their commitment to Hellenic ideals, be it Zach serving as an altar boy and a staunch communicant at his local parish, the son and grandson of very active church participants, or Gianni proudly wrapping himself in the Greek flag during the NBA Slam Dunk contest and participating for his country of Greece during the World Basketball Competition. Each continues to embrace his heritage and Hellenic roots.”
About the 2015 National Honorees for Athletics
GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO, is a member of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks. Gianni was born in Athens, is a Greek citizen and a member of the Greek National Team. He began his professional career as a teenager with a Greek professional team, Filathlitikos, and then was drafted 15th in the first round by the Milwaukee Bucks in 2013 National Basketball Association Basketball draft. He is a two-year member of the Milwaukee Bucks and is considered a rising star, having been named to the 2014 Second Team, All-Rookie team, and having participated in the 2015 NBA Slam Dunk Contest. In 2015, he averaged 12.7 points and 6.7 rebounds for the Bucks, and in 2014, he played for the Greek National Team in the FIBA World Cup.
ZACHARY (“ZACH”) ELIAS AUGUSTE began his sports career at St. Anargyriou Greek Orthodox Church in Marlborough, Mass., where he was active in church basketball. He also served as an altar boy while his great grandfather served as the cantor. Zach was a standout high school basketball player at Marlborough High and then at the New Hampton School, a college-prep school in New Hampshire where he graduated in 2012, rated as a top 100 basketball recruit. Zach considered more than fifteen Division I basketball scholarship opportunities based on his academic standing and basketball potential and chose to attend the University of Notre Dame. At Notre Dame, Zach is entering his senior year, having been a two-year starter and spearheading one of Notre Dame’s greatest seasons ever. The Fighting Irish were 32-6 this past season, finishing the season in the top 10 nationally. Zach averaged 12.9 points and 6.5 rebounds for Notre Dame.
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Founded in 1922 in Atlanta, Georgia, to protect individuals from the evils of bigotry and discrimination, AHEPA is the largest and oldest grassroots association of American citizens of Greek heritage and Philhellenes with more than 400 chapters across the United States, Canada, Greece and Cyprus.
The mission of AHEPA is to promote the ancient Greek ideals of Education,Philanthropy, Civic Responsibility, and Family and Individual Excellence through community service and volunteerism.