Huskie living dream with NIU basketball

By Khobi Price

DeKALB — Anastasios Demogerontas, men’s basketball junior forward, always believed he could play Division I collegiate basketball. It was his No. 1 goal from when he first picked up a basketball.

His journey toward his aspirations wasn’t ordinary. Demogerontas had to take the junior college route at Moraine Valley Community College because of his grades not being sufficient. Although not as rigorous as the Division I level, the experience came with its own challenges.

“It was tough,” Demogerontas said. “Growing up, playing with my friends and family all the time — I think it helped me to get me where I’m at.”

Demogerontas didn’t shy away from challenges presented to him. He consistently sought out ways to become better by working in the gym almost every day. Demogerontas started playing basketball in the third grade in a church league with his two older brothers with the intent of pushing himself to get better.

Demogerontas played his high school basketball career at Sandburg High School in Orland Park. He earned All-Southwest Suburban Conference Blue honors as a senior and was named a 2015 Illinois Basketball Coaches Association 3A/4A All-State Honorable Mention selection.

“After school I would always be in the gym, day in and day out,” Demogerontas said. “I was always working on my game to make it to the next level.”

The work paid off, and he made it to the next level; it just wasn’t the NCAA Division I level he set his sights on when he was younger.

At Moraine Valley, he averaged 17.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game and shot 47.9 percent from the field, 36.9 percent from three and 72.7 percent from the free throw line.

He was named to the 2017 NJCAA All-Region IV First Team and the All-Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference First Team as a sophomore in 2016-17.

“It was about working on my game every day. Trying to get better and working with my coaches in the recruitment process. [I’m thankful for] Coach Montgomery offering me a scholarship here.”

Demogerontas has been one of the main fixtures for the men’s basketball team since joining the program in fall 2017. He’s played in every game this season so far, he’s consistently one of the first players off the bench and is the team’s fifth leading scorer, notching nearly five points per game.

Sophomore guard Justin Thomas complimented the work ethic of Demogerontas and his all-around skill set.

“He’s a hard worker,” Thomas said. “He’s always trying to get better in the after hours when nobody’s here. He’s long, he can shoot the ball, and he’s a good defender. He has a bright future.”

Montgomery said he views Demogerontas as one of the key members of the bench unit that can help the team improve by maintaining, or creating, leads when the starters aren’t on the floor.

Demogerontas said he views himself at his best when he’s able to be a scoring threat and affect the game in multiple ways. He takes pride in his versatile style of play and his ability to defend multiple positions.

This is why he refers to the Nov. 20 game against the University of Pennsylvania Quakers as his best of the season. He scored 13 points, secured five rebounds, dished out two assists, stole the ball once, made all four of his free-throw attempts and shot 4-for-5 from the field.

“[I take pride in] being able to play multiple positions,” Demogerontas said. “I’ve been doing that my whole life, learning different spots and helping the team out in anyway I can.”

Demogerontas is looking to make an impact on the men’s basketball program with his versatility, hard work and positive energy on the floor.

“We’re trying to change the culture here,” Demogerontas said. “We’re trying to bring the program back up.”

Those characteristics are what got him this far and what has turned his childhood dream into a reality.