Tyler Dorsey's name doesn't sound Greek, but it is precisely his Greek heritage that has propelled him and his Oregon Ducks into the Final Four for the first time in 78 years. Dorsey's grandmother was Greek, and his mother lived in Athens until she was 3 before her family moved to the United States.
Because of his family's Greek heritage, Dorsey was granted dual citizenship, which is how the Oregon sophomore found himself lacing up his kicks for Hellas, Greece's U19 national team, in the summer of 2015, before he arrived at Oregon.
Dorsey balled, helping Hellas reach the final four of the 2015 FIBA World Championships, and his play earned him a spot on the all-tournament team. So impressive was Dorsey that he was invited back to his mother's homeland the following year to try out for the Greek national team, which would attempt to qualify for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. That is where Dorsey's game grew to the level it is today, because he had the unenviable task of guarding Giannis Antetokounmpo every day in practice.
Dorsey is no small dude, standing 6-foot-4 and weighing 195 pounds, but the Greek Freak dwarfs most men, with his 7-foot frame and wingspan stretching the length of the horizon. Guarding him is a nightmare, but Dorsey soaked up the experience like a Greek sponge.
"He made me better, because if you can learn to deal with his length and athleticism, you can deal with anyone else's," Dorsey said at Pac-12 Media Day ahead of the 2016-2017 season. "Playing against him and having that experience made me a much better player."
Dorsey increased his points per game and field goal percentages from his freshman year to now, and he's been a monster in the NCAA tournament, averaging 24.5 points and shooting a blistering 68 percent. Oh, and he's bombing away at a 65 percent clip from deep.
Dorsey attributes much of his recent success to those days going back and forth with Antetokounmpo and getting to witness the Greek Freak's work ethic up close and personal.
"When you're playing pros, it's tougher because this is their job; they do this every day. This is their life, this is their job." Dorsey said. "I just wanted to pick up some knowledge from them and that's what I did."
As Oregon looks to secure two more wins and seal the NCAA Championship, the NBA lies ahead for Dorsey, where he will once again have the opportunity to go at Anteteokounmpo, his countryman and mentor.
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