ATHENS (2010 FIBA World Championship) - Watch Kostas Kaimakoglou closely this summer because he is going to go all out to make the Greece squad for the FIBA World Championship.
The Maroussi forward will go into the national team preparations in less than two weeks in buoyant mood.
Kaimakoglou was voted by the Greek media as one of the best five players in the A1 league after helping Maroussi to a third-place finish that sealed a spot in next season’s Euroleague.
He takes nothing for granted when it comes to the national team, though.
"I know that this year players are returning from injury and it will be very difficult to go to Turkey," he said.
"I know it will be like starting from scratch but I will give 100% to prepare first and foremost to help the team.”
Being recognized as one of the top five players from this season’s Greek league clearly hasn’t gone to Kaimakoglou’s head.
"This distinction is a great honor for me," he said.
"It's the first time I have received an individual prize and would like to thank everyone who voted for me.
"I would also like to say a big thank you to my teammates and my coaches.
"It may sound trite, but it's the truth - this award above all belongs to the group.
"Had I voted , I would have voted for Maroussi, not me personally.
"Maroussi did great things this year."
The 2.05m power forward provided a spark from the first game to the last.
Maroussi finished third in the Greek league and also reached the Euroleague Top 16.
"It was one of the most successful years, if not the best for Maroussi," Kaimakoglou said.
"It was the most difficult because of all these problems we faced. The determination and unselfishness made us more powerful.
"We showed this not only inside the Greek borders, but also outside."
It was a season-long battle and one that didn't end until the very last contest, a deciding fifth game against Panellinios in the battle for third place in the play-offs.
Kaimakoglou hit a pair of three-balls and finished with 12 points as Maroussi won to seal their place in Europe’s elite competition for 2010-11.
Now for the national team.
It remains to be seen if Kaimakoglou travels with Greece to Ankara, where the Preliminary Round opponents will be Russia, the Ivory Coast, Puerto Rico, China and hosts Turkey.