Perse student nets basketball success
Talented basketballer Spyros Mantis (Upper Sixth) has celebrated leading his club team to league glory.
He captained Cambridge Cats’ U18 side to the NBL (National Basketball League) East Conference title this season as they won 17 of their 18 matches.
That success put the Cats through to the NBL national play-offs, where they narrowly lost to the South East Conference’s Hackney Jedis 65-61.
Spyros was thrilled to have skippered the Cats to the divisional championship, having come through the younger age groups with the club.
He said: “It was good to win the East Conference this year after coming second last year. It was great as our team was mainly composed of U17 players playing a year up.
“In our only league defeat, we lost by two points, and when we played them again at home, we beat them by 30 points. It was a painful loss and we took it to heart.
“I captained the team because I had more experience playing at that level, so there was a bit of pressure, but we all performed well.”
Spyros plays in the point guard or shooting guard positions, having adapted his game over time.
He said: “When I was younger, I grew quite quickly and I was more or less the tallest player at U13 and U14 level, so I played more of a forward role.
“As time went on and I didn’t grow as quickly, I had to adjust my skills to play as a guard. My passing and outside (long-range) shooting had to improve as I was playing further out (from the basket) against tall players.
“It’s a playmaker role, so I’m a lot more involved in the game. It means I score fewer, but I assist more.”
With their shared Greek background, Spyros’ favourite player is Giannis Antetokounmpo, who plays for top American outfit Milwaukee Bucks and has twice won the NBA’s prestigious MVP (most valuable player) award.
However, despite being offered a basketball scholarship in the US by Nebraska’s York University, Spyros is keen to continue studying in this country and hopes to take on an aerospace engineering degree after completing his A levels.