VIDEO: Florida Tech Men’s Basketball Signs Center From Hungarian National Team
By Michael Craig, Florida Tech Sports // July 2, 2017
center for U-18, U-20 Hungarian National teams
ABOVE VIDEO: Highlights of Florida Tech men’s basketball newest addition, 6-foot-9-inch, 234-pound center, Mate Papai.
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Florida Tech men’s basketball head coach Billy Mims is excited to announce the addition of Mate Papai to the 2017 signing class.
Papai, a 6-foot-9-inch, 234 pound center from Budapest, Hungary, is the second player to sign for the upcoming 2017-18 basketball season.
The big man is the starting center for the Under-18 and Under-20 Hungarian National Teams.
With his father by his side, Papai signed the offer sheet during a break from his National Team training camp this past week where is currently preparing for the Under-20 European Championships in Romania in late July.
Last weekend in Italy, Papai started three exhibition games with the U-20 squad scoring 20 points and pulling down eight rebounds on Friday against Czech Republic.
On Saturday he tallied 12 points and eight boards against Italy and then registered a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds in a matchup against Holland on Sunday.
Recognized as the No. 1 center in Hungary in the class of 2017, Papai is a dominant, competitive two-way big man who can finish with both hands and is a skilled passer.
He was one of the top players in Hungary’s second division this past season, averaging a league-best 11 rebounds per game to go along with 13.4 points and 2.5 assists per night.
Papai chose to join the Panthers above a list of offers from other schools.
“It took me a little while to decide prior to signing with Florida Tech as I received offers from multiple different programs,” stated Papai.
“I chose Florida Tech because it has a great team with very strong players and highly experienced coaches. They are participating in the strongest conference in Division II and playing against highly competitive teams.
“The city, the campus and the whole area is amazing and beautiful. Besides basketball, my studies are very important to me and I think I made a very good decision from this point of view, as well.”
“Overall, I’m very excited and I cannot wait to become a Panther.”
Mims is thrilled with the addition of the quality big-man who will join a team that’s expected to do well this upcoming season.
“I’m very excited to bring another European national team player into our Panther program,” said Mims. “Players of that standard have played the game at a very high caliber of play and faced an extremely high level of competition.”
“Mate Papai gives us a true back to the basket player with excellent post footwork and quality finishing in the paint,” Coach Mims added.
“Mate has a high basketball IQ, sees the floor well, and passes out of the post well. He will also give us added help on the boards night in and night out.”
Mims also added, “All-time FIT leading scorer, Justin Sedlak (Slovakia) and current Panther Antonis Pefanis (Greece) were National Team players for their respective countries and performed very well in SSC play.”
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