Now usually when it comes to most bench players, we tend to ignore them. But DePaul’s Pantelis Xidias isn’t like most bench players. Now when I first noticed Pantelis it was during the “PK 80” basketball tourney. DePaul was playing Portland and a player from DePaul hit a three and kid on DePaul’s bench when absolutely nuts. At first I didn’t know what to think, but the more I watched the Blue Demons the more I started to ignore the game and just started to pay attention to his sideline antics.
Pantelis would dab, jump, clap, and almost anything else to cheer on his team to victory. It was amazing but I didn’t understand why. I couldn’t understand why I was watching a game to watch a player on the bench, I just knew it was awesome.
The next week I was listening to Kentucky Sports Radio and host Matt Jones had noticed Pantelis as well. Matt had gave Big Blue Nation a mission to go follow Pantelis on Twitter to try and get him to a 1000 followers, in attempt to get him as our adopted Big Blue Nation friend. He currently sits at almost 6000 followers with a majority of them being Kentucky fans.
With interest seeming to be at an all time high with Kentucky fans, I reached out to him and I had to know more. I quickly got into contact with him, and he almost immediately said yes to an interview. We sat down last night and talked over the phone, and let me tell you guys it is not an act. Pantelis is by far one of the most hype people I’ve ever talked to. Everything you see on the sidelines is 100% real. Every question was answered with enthusiasm and the man was just happy to be alive.
Q. Where are you from and can you tell me a little about yourself?
Pantelis: “Yeah I’m from Michigan City, Indiana. A little small that’s pretty down to Earth. I always played basketball growing up and always loved it. My high school coach recruited me to come to DePaul and now I’m here and I love it!”
Q. What was it like moving from a small town to a big city like Chicago?
Pantelis: “It’s a lot different, big time. There is always stuff going on here, the streets are always packed. At Michigan City you don’t really run into that there.”
Q. I noticed that you went to La Lumiere high school and DePaul has quite a few players from that school. Can you tell me about that?
Pantelis: “Yeah we have kind of just started a pipeline and players starting going from La Lumiere to DePaul. Which is great for both schools because both are about the team over any individual.”
Q. What was it like winning the Dick’s Basketball National Championship in high school at La Lumiere?
Pantelis: “Yeah man that was crazy, that was surreal. It was amazing to go to New York against the other seven best teams in the nation. But to win it? Oh my gosh it was crazy!”
Q. I saw where you and Brian Bowen went to the same high school. Can you please shed some light on him at all?
Pantelis: “Yeah he is a great kid, I know there is a lot in the news right now and I’m not too familiar with it. But in the years that I’ve known him he is a great kid. We had class together and we hung out and overall just a great kid!”
Q. Can you tell me about how all of your sideline antics started at all?
Pantelis: ” Yeah at La Lumiere my coach always wanted people talking, clapping, and having enthusiasm. But then I just took it to the next level, I put my own spin on things and its went well for me so far!”
Q. Can you tell me what your teammates and coaches think about it?
Pantelis: “Yeah everyone really supports and they love it. They say it gets them hyped up and I try to be the energy guy. So they all support it and I’m very thankful of that.”
Q. Did you know about the history of DePaul before you came here?
Pantelis: ” Oh yeah for sure, actually when I was younger I went to a couple games at DePaul. You cant beat the history players like Mark Aquirre, Rod Strickland, and Quentin Richardson. DePaul basketball is big time in Chicago and we are trying to bring that back.”
Q. Do you feel like a modern day Kurt Rambis with your goggles?
Pantelis: ” That’s a comparison I have gotten a lot, so I’m gonna go with yes!”
Q. Do you have any role models?
Pantelis: “Oh yeah for sure, both my mom and my dad. My dad was always taking me to the gym and making sure I was doing what I suppose to do. My dad has always been really huge in my life.”
Q. Can you tell me your major or your GPA at all?
Pantelis: “Absolutely! My senior year in high school I had a 4.3 GPA and I’m a business major. I’m not too sure which field yet. But I wanna take more classes before I declare, but now I’m just enjoying the process.”
Q. Can you tell me about the life of a student athlete?
Pantelis: “Yeah its a lot of work for sure, but you know that coming in. You have practice, studying, and just making sure you are doing the right things. It’s a lot of work but it is extremely rewarding and I’m extremely grateful!”
Q. Any words you wanna say to the Big Blue Nation?
Pantelis: “I appreciate all the love and support from you guys, and if you ever want or need anything from me just let me know. I owe you guys big time!”
I just wanna say thanks to Pantelis for taking the time out of his day to do an interview with me. He was extremely humbled and appreciated the support of Big Blue Nation so much. I wish nothing but the best for Pantelis and the DePaul basketball team the rest of the season.