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Fragiskos "Frankie" Alvertis (Greek: Φραγκίσκος "Φράνκι" Αλβέρτης) (born June 11, 1974) is a Greek former professional basketball player and current general manager of Panathinaikos Athens (PAO). As a player, he was the captain of Panathinaikos, where he spent his whole career. On February 3, 2008, Alvertis was chosen as one of the 50 Greatest EuroLeague Contributors over the last half-century by the Euroleague Basketball Experts Committee, in recognition of his major contribution to Panathinaikos' rise on the continental scene.[1]

Fragiskos Alvertis
Panathinaikos
PositionGeneral manager
LeagueGreek League
EuroLeague
Personal information
Born (1974-06-11) June 11, 1974 (age 45)
Greece Athens, Greece
NationalityGreek
Listed height6 ft 9 in (2.06 m)
Listed weight225 lb (102 kg)
Career information
NBA draft1996 / Undrafted
Playing career1990–2009
PositionSmall Forward / Power forward
Number4
Coaching career2014–present
Career history
As player:
1990–2009Panathinaikos
As coach:
2014Panathinaikos
2016–presentPanathinaikos (general manager)
Career highlights and awards
As player

As head coach

Alvertis is commonly referred as one of the best pure shooters of European basketball during the 1990s and the beginning of the new millennium. He won the Greek League Three-Point Shootout Contest three years in a row (1996–1998), and averaged 0.410 from three-point range throughout his EuroLeague career. Alvertis made his eighth EuroLeague Final Four appearance in 2007.[2]

In 1990, Alvertis joined Panathinaikos from Glyfada. As a member of the Greens, he won eleven Greek League championships, five EuroLeague Championships, eight Greek Cups, and one FIBA Intercontinental Cup.[3] His jersey number (4) was the first Panathinaikos shirt number ever to be retired by the club. It was hung at the beginning of the 2009–10 season, along with the trophy banners above the court of Nikos Galis Olympic Indoor Hall, after his retirement following the 2008–09 season.

Alvertis was also a regular member of the senior Greek national basketball team until 2004, reaching once the FIBA World Championship semifinal in 1998, and twice the EuroBasket semifinal (1995, 1997).[4]

Contents

Club careerEdit

1990–1996Edit

Alvertis' eventful transfer form Glyfada cost Panathinaikos the success of his water polo department, as it included the trade of the team's main star. A great deal had been accomplished however, as the years to come would demonstrate. Alvertis was indeed an intriguing prospect at the time, almost 10 cm (4 inches) taller than the conventional shooting guard. His potential was proven to be great in the 1991 FIBA Europe Under-16 Championship, where Alvertis led the Greek team to the silver medal alongside Panagiotis Liadelis.[5] At the same time, Panathinaikos was going through a transition period during which the lackluster team of the late 1980s strove to become a European powerhouse. Consequently, young Alvertis had to wait until the 1993–94 season to get significant playing time on a team with high ambitions, as PAO reached the EuroLeague Final Four. The star of the twenty-year-old player shone right away, particularly in the Top 8 playoff series against reigning champions Limoges.[6] Alvertis averaged 13 points per game, forcing Coach Božidar Maljković to state that he already was to be counted as one of the very best players in Europe.

Panathinaikos had a status to confirm in the 1994–95 season and Alvertis helped them do so by elevating his play to an even higher level. Using his sharp shooting with a rare maturity for a player his age, he was a major contributor to his team's march towards a second consecutive EuroLeague Final Four. In the Top 8 playoffs against Kinder Bologna and Predrag Danilovic, he averaged 12.7 points and 3.3 rebounds, while holding Danilovic to just 8 points and 4-15 from the field in the decisive Game 3. Although the semifinal against Olympiacos proved to be tough, as he only shot 1-10 from the field for only 3 points, he scored a season high 29 points in the third place game against Limoges. Alvertis finished his EuroLeague season averaging 12 points per game.[7]

In the 1995–96 season, Alvertis saw NBA legend Dominique Wilkins join the team and the EuroLeague title seemed closer than ever.[8] He averaged 10.8 points per game in the competition, led Panathinaikos in scoring during the winning Final against Barcelona with 17 points, and was selected to the EuroLeague All-Final Four Team.[9] In the Greek League semifinals, Panathinaikos faced a Panionios team under Dusan Ivkovic, featuring the likes of Zarko Paspalj and Fanis Christodoulou. Alvertis scored 12 points in the last eight minutes of a dramatic Game 3, leading Panathinaikos to the Finals where they fell to Olympiacos. He also won the 1996 FIBA Intercontinental Cup, as he averaged 19.7 points per game against Olimpia of Argentina.

1996–2004Edit

 
Fragiskos Alvertis was a great shooter

Alvertis cemented his role as one of Panathinaikos' main stars, in spite of the fact that the team experienced a dispiriting 1996-97 season. Although he increased his scoring average to 12.7 points per game, he was unable to help PAO reach the EuroLeague Final Four as they were bested by eventual champions Olympiacos in the quarterfinal playoffs. His 35 points facing Caja San Fernando set his EuroLeague personal record.[10] The Greek League outcome would add up to the season's drama, as Alvertis' 29 points against PAOK in Game 2 of the quarterfinal playoffs were not enough to prevent a 90-85 defeat.

Strengthened by the addition of another NBA legend in Byron Scott for the 1997-98 season, Panathinaikos won their first national league title since 1984.[11] In the memorable semifinal playoff series, AEK was coming out of a Euroleague Final campaign, led by the likes of Bane Prelević, Willie Anderson and Victor Alexander. Alvertis averaged 16.7 points per game and led Panathinaikos in scoring. Following the win in the final series against PAOK and Peja Stojakovic, he was voted to the All-Greek League Team, alongside teammate Dino Radja. A dynasty was born in Greek basketball, and Alvertis would soon become its captain.

After an unexpected failure to reach the EuroLeague Top 8 in the 1998–99 season, Alvertis won one more Greek League title. Panathinaikos beat Olympiacos in the finals, after breaking home court advantage and winning the decisive Game 5 in the Peace and Friendship Stadium.

In the 1999–00 season, having missed an important part of the season due to an injury, Alvertis still came back on time. Performing efficient basketball, he helped Panathinaikos win their second EuroLeague title in Thessaloníki, as well as their third straight Greek League championship, downing PAOK in the final. Together with Dejan Bodiroga, he led Panathinaikos in scoring in the final playoff series, averaging 15.7 points per game.

The following season, Alvertis helped lead Panathinaikos to the SuproLeague Final Four, averaging 13.4 points per game. The Greens lost to Maccabi Tel Aviv in the final.[12] As for the Greek League, Olympiacos had once again a very solid team that year, featuring Dino Radja, David Rivers and Nikos Oikonomou. After the final series was tied at 2–2, Alvertis scored 23 points in Game 5, including seven straight points in the clutch, thus offering Panathinaikos one more Greek League title. His legend, especially among the green fans, was still growing.

After winning everything at the club level, Alvertis' thirst for titles did not subside nonetheless. In the 2001–02 season he led the Panathinaikos offense along with Dejan Bodiroga, Damir Mulaomerović and İbrahim Kutluay, averaging 10.2 points per game;[13] in the EuroLeague Final against Kinder Bologna, he scored 11 points, showing great leadership throughout the game. By lifting his third EuroLeague title, Alvertis proved that the sky was the limit concerning the number of his titles.

Due to the renovation of the Nikos Galis Olympic Indoor Hall for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, Panathinaikos had to move to the 2500 capacity Sporting Arena for the 2002–03 season. The club's budget consequently decreased by nearly half, thus hurting the team's strength. Despite that, Panathinaikos led its regular season EuroLeague group with an 11–3 record. After averaging 12.7 points per game in the first three Top 16 games, Alvertis’ season was cut short by an injury which caused him to miss the remaining three games.[14] As a result, Panathinaikos did not manage to make it to the EuroLeague Final Four without its natural leader. In the Greek League, Alvertis was there to assure PAO's dominance, winning its fifth title in six seasons. He averaged 12 points per game in the finals against AEK, and was voted the Greek League MVP.[15] Prior to that, he had led the Greens to their first Greek Cup since 1996, scoring 22 points in the final against Aris, and being named the tournament's MVP.[16]

The 2003-04 season presented many similarities to the previous one, as Panathinaikos remained in the Sporting Arena. Despite Alvertis averaging 11.2 points per game and providing veteran leadership in the locker room, his EuroLeague season ended again on an injury in the fourth game of the Top 16 against Barcelona. Panathinaikos was not able to reach further to the EuroLeague Final Four.[17] Alvertis’ sixth Greek League title came after averaging 11 points in the playoffs, including a 21 points outing against Olympiacos in the quarterfinals. The latter was the seventh and last time he led all Panathinaikos scorers in a playoff matchup versus their archrivals.

2004–2009: A new role for a leaderEdit

The 2004–05 season meant an adjustment for the captain of Panathinaikos. Unable to contribute to Head Coach Obradović's demanding systems as efficiently as before, he was not starting any of the games anymore. Nevertheless, he came off the bench as a spot shooter, who gave the team valuable perimeter scoring and experience.[18] Along with the team's new stars Dimitris Diamantidis, Jaka Lakovič, and Mike Batiste, PAO made it to the EuroLeague Final Four in Moscow, losing to Šarūnas Jasikevičius' and Anthony Parker's Maccabi Tel Aviv. Alvertis finished the EuroLeague season with an average 8.4 points per game, the lowest since his first EuroLeague campaign in 1993-94. Finally, he lifted another Greek League trophy, averaging 12 points per game against AEK in the finals.

During his sixteenth season with Panathinaikos, Alvertis had the same role as the previous year. Coming off the bench, he helped his team make the EuroLeague Top 8. TAU Ceramica pulled off an upset during the decisive third game in Athens, thus preventing PAO from reaching the 2006 EuroLeague Final Four. This disappointment was slightly relieved by the sweep against Olympiacos in the Greek League Finals.

The 2006–07 season was a great one for Panathinaikos, as they won the EuroLeague Final in Athens, as well as the Greek League and Greek Cup.[9] Alvertis’ contribution had not been significant on the court, but the captain of the Greens was ready to serve his team whenever they needed him. The 2007–08 season confirmed that, with Alvertis being the soul of the Greens even though his contribution on the court was again limited. PAO won both the Greek League and the Greek Cup yet another time. The 2008–09 season was his last on the roster, as his role was at that point merely symbolic.

National team careerEdit

1995–1998: The first stepsEdit

As one of the best European prospects from the age of 17, Alvertis was selected very early for the Greek men's national team. The first major tournament in which he participated was the EuroBasket 1995, where Greece made the semifinals and finished fourth. Serving as Giorgos Sigalas substitution, Alvertis did not start any of the games, nor get very significant playing time. He finished the tournament averaging 4.9 points per game.[19]

The following year, Alvertis was already a permanent member of the Greek team and took part at the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia. Even though he still was not starting the games, his contribution rose to 8.6 points per game, as Greece finished to an all-time best fifth position.[20] It was obvious however, that the departure of legendary Panagiotis Giannakis and the imminent one of Fanis Christodoulou, would increase Alvertis’ responsibilities.

At the EuroBasket 1997, Greece started the tournament once again with very high ambitions, and a victory against title contender Russia in the qualifying group raised their hopes even higher. Alvertis’ role on the team remained unaltered, as he remained a secondary, but significant option on offense, averaging 6.9 points.[21] Greece fell to the future champion Yugoslavia in the semifinal, losing 80–88. The Greek team finished in fourth place, losing the bronze medal game to Russia 98–78.

1998–2001: Leader of the national teamEdit

Eager to confirm they were part of the basketball elite, Greece aimed at reaching the semifinal in the 1998 FIBA World Championship in Athens. Coach Panagiotis Giannakis was confident that the Greek team would fulfill its mission and he put Alvertis, alongside his Panathinaikos teammate Nikos Oikonomou, in charge of the team's offense. Alvertis averaged 13.2 points and a surprisingly high 6.2 rebounds per game, being a major contributor to Greece's fourth-place finish.[22] He most notably scored the three-pointer that sealed the fate of the quarterfinal against Spain, giving Greece a 65-58 advantage 53 seconds before the end. His leading role was now indisputable, especially since the great Panagiotis Fasoulas retired from the national team after the end of the tournament.

At the EuroBasket 1999, Alvertis seemed ready to lead Greece to its first medal since 1989. After leading the team in offense, with 18.1 points per game in the qualifying round, everything seemed to indicate a great EuroBasket for the Greek star.[23] Nevertheless, misfortune is part of the game of basketball. A few days before the tournament, Alvertis suffered a severe injury during practice. This injury made him not only miss the EuroBasket, but also the major part of the 1999–00 season. Without its offensive leader, and without Nikos Oikonomou and Efthimios Rentzias, also injured, Greece finished in an embarrassing sixteenth and last position. They consequently failed to qualify for the 2000 Summer Olympics, and were doomed to two years of exclusion from every major tournament.

Greece had to wait for the EuroBasket 2001 in order to make its comeback to the international scene. The team obviously was in the middle of a transition period, during which young stars Theo Papaloukas, Antonis Fotsis, and Lazaros Papadopoulos were unable to build a highly competitive team right away. Alvertis, coming off a great year with Panathinaikos, and Giorgos Sigalas, had to show to the young generation the road to success. The first game against reigning champion Italy proved that Alvertis was ready to fulfill his role. His buzzer-beating three pointer gave Greece a very impressive 83–82 win. The team, however, had not reached the level of a medal contender yet. The 105–82 loss against Russia in the next game confirmed that. Consequently, in order to reach the quarterfinal, Greece's game against rising power Germany appeared to be a difficult task. After leading the game by 22 in the eighteenth minute, the Greek team eventually collapsed against the frontcourt of Dirk Nowitzki, Ademola Okulaja and Shawn Bradley, losing 80–75. Alvertis averaged 16 points in the tournament, but Greece ended up in ninth place.[24] It was his last opportunity to reach success with the national team as its leader, especially since Greece had not qualified for the 2002 FIBA World Championship. The transition period for the young generation was soon going to be over.

2001–2004: The last yearsEdit

Prior to the EuroBasket 2003, Alvertis was a player whose leadership and experience with Panathinaikos and the Greek national team were priceless. Consequently, although his role within the Greek national team had become secondary on the court, it was still a leading one off the court. He was in charge of transmitting values such as commitment, partnership, and ambition to the new generation of Greek stars. After Greece finished in fifth place at both the EuroBasket 2003 and the 2004 Summer Olympics, the veteran star announced his retirement from the Greek National Team. Alvertis kept his word, even though Coach Giannakis thought about including him on the Greek team that would eventually win the gold medal at the EuroBasket 2005. Alvertis had already known that the future of the Greek national team was in good hands.

Player profileEdit

 
Alvertis attempting a layup

Alvertis was regarded for most of his career as one of the best sharp shooters in Europe.[1] While his relative lack of athleticism and average all around skills did not allow him to create his own shot on a constant basis, his exceptional shooting prowess, a rare combination of height and mechanics, turned him into a very hard to defend mismatch on the perimeter. As a consequence, he converted quite efficiently in numerous clutch situations over the years.

Alvertis was also an accomplished defender, often wise credited for effectively defending the opposing shooting guard or small forward.[25] Over the last five years of his career, he mainly played at the power forward position thanks to his height and size, thus adjusting to the increased pace of the game in the new millennium.

Finally and above all, Alvertis was a charismatic team leader, both on and especially off the court. He always kept his teammates focused on the team's success, symbolizing the very core of Panathinaikos' winning culture. Coach Željko Obradović himself once said, "Alvertis is the best captain I ever had", paying tribute to the leadership skills of his star.[25]

Awards and accomplishmentsEdit

 
Alvertis' retired #4 Panathinaikos jersey
 
Giant portrait of "Fragi" on Nikos Galis Olympic Indoor Hall's roof

As a playerEdit

PanathinaikosEdit

Greek national basketball teamEdit

As a team managerEdit

As a head coachEdit

EuroLeague career statisticsEdit

EuroLeague official website, Fragiskos Alvertis' page.[30] FIBA Europe official website, Fragiskos Alvertis' history.[31]

SEASON TEAM GP MPG SPG BPG APG RPG PPG
1993–94 Panathinaikos 21 23.0 0.4 0 0.5 2.6 8.0
1994–95 Panathinaikos 21 28.0 0.9 0 1.0 2.9 12.0
1995–96 Panathinaikos 21 29.4 0.8 0 1.3 3.3 10.8
1996–97 Panathinaikos 20 28.5 0.8 0 0.6 3.3 12.7
1998–99 Panathinaikos 17 29.3 0.9 0 1.4 3.2 11.5
1999–00 Panathinaikos 10 22.5 0.4 0 0.7 1.8 7.9
2000–01 Panathinaikos 24 26.5 1.0 0 1.2 3.4 13.4
2001–02 Panathinaikos 22 25.9 0.9 0 0.7 3.0 10.2
2002–03 Panathinaikos 17 23.7 0.8 0 0.4 1.6 9.9
2003–04 Panathinaikos 16 23.7 0.3 0 1.1 1.9 11.2
2004–05 Panathinaikos 20 18.6 0.7 0 0.7 1.4 8.4
2005–06 Panathinaikos 16 16.9 0.8 0 0.3 1.3 8.0
2006–07 Panathinaikos 11 9.2 0.1 0. 0.5 0.5 3.3
2007–08 Panathinaikos 12 8.3 0.3 0. 0.3 0.8 3.0

He came of the bench for 1 game the following season (2008–09)

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b EuroLeague official website, Fragiskos Alvertis presentation as one of the 50 Greatest EuroLeague Contributors, [1]
  2. ^ "Euroleague official website, Fragiskos Alvertis' profile".
  3. ^ "Euroleague official website".
  4. ^ "FIBA official website, Fragiskos Alvertis' profile".
  5. ^ FIBA Europe official website, U16 European Championship Men 1991 - Greece's roster,[2]
  6. ^ FIBA Europe official website, Fragiskos Alvertis' 1993-94 Euroleague stats,[3]
  7. ^ FIBA Europe official website, Fragiskos Alvertis' 1994-95 Euroleague stats,[4]
  8. ^ FIBA Europe official website, Panathinaikos' 1995-96 Euroleague roster
  9. ^ a b Euroleague official website, Fragiskos Alvertis' profile
  10. ^ Fibaeurope official website, Caja San Fernando - Panathinaikos boxscore
  11. ^ Panathinaikos BC official website, A lifetime of championships
  12. ^ FIBA Europe official website, Suproleague 2000-01 Final stats
  13. ^ Euroleague official website, Fragiskos Alvertis' 2001-02 page
  14. ^ Euroleague official website, Fragiskos Alvertis' 2002-03 page
  15. ^ Galanis sports data website, Statistics of the 2002-03 Greek League finals
  16. ^ Galanis sports data website, Statistics of the 2002-03 Greek Cup final
  17. ^ Euroleague official website, Fragiskos Alvertis' 2003-04 page
  18. ^ Euroleague official website, Fragiskos Alvertis' 2004-05 page
  19. ^ Basket Stats website, Fragiskos Alvertis' Eurobasket 1995 statistics
  20. ^ Basket Stats website, Fragiskos Alvertis' Olympic Games 1996 statistics,[5]
  21. ^ Basket Stats website, Fragiskos Alvertis' Eurobasket 1997 statistics
  22. ^ Basket Stats website, Fragiskos Alvertis' World Championship 1998 statistics,[6]
  23. ^ FIBA Europe official website, Fragiskos Alvertis' Participations in FIBA Europe competitions,[7]
  24. ^ Basket Stats website, Fragiskos Alvertis' Eurobasket 2001 statistics
  25. ^ a b EuroLeague official website, Fragiskos Alvertis, the man with 25 titles, by Vladimir Stankovic [8]
  26. ^ Sportime article about HEBA All Star
  27. ^ Euroleague Official Website, Fragiskos Alvertis' page
  28. ^ Eurobasket website about Basketball
  29. ^ Hellenic Basketball Federation official website
  30. ^ Career stats
  31. ^ Career stats

External linksEdit