Youngest Antetokounmpo Hoping to Follow in Brothers' Footsteps

The past year has been pretty special for the Antetokounmpo family. In October, Kostas Antetokounmpo won an NBA championship as a member of the Lakers. Older brothers Giannis and Thanasis collected rings of their own earlier this month, with Giannis being named NBA Finals MVP after leading the Bucks to their first title in 50 years.

Now, the youngest Antetokounmpo brother is hoping to follow in their footsteps. 19-year-old Alex worked out for the Pacers on Tuesday in Indiana's final pre-draft workout before Thursday's 2021 NBA Draft. Alex participated in a two-man workout alongside former UC Santa Barbara guard JaQuori McLaughlin.

The rise of the Antetokounmpo family has been well documented, but Alex's story is less well known. Charles and Veronica Antetokounmpo immigrated from Nigeria to Greece, where four of their five sons were born (the oldest, Francis, was born in Nigeria). Although they originally played soccer, the boys took up basketball while living in Athens, with Thanasis (the second-oldest) and then Giannis (the middle child) eventually joining the club Filiathlitikos.

Their world changed forever in 2013, when the Bucks drafted Giannis with the 15th overall pick. Alex and Kostas moved to Milwaukee alongside their older brother. Alex was just 11 years old and didn't speak any English, but slowly grew acclimated to a new culture while Giannis blossomed into one of the league's biggest stars.

Thanasis was drafted in 2014, while Kostas attended the University of Dayton for a year before being selected with the final pick of the 2018 Draft.

Alex eventually enrolled at Dominican High School in Whitefish Bay, Wisc. He was a first-team all-state selection as both a junior and senior, averaging 20 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.6 blocks per game in 2019-20. He had offers from a few colleges, including DePaul, Ohio, and Green Bay, but instead elected to head overseas, signing a contract with the club UCAM Murcia CB in Spain.

"I felt as if it was the best decision for me as far as developing," he said on Tuesday.

It's difficult to track down stats for the youngest Antetokounmpo in Europe. He reportedly had a strong debut with the club's second team (comprised of younger players) in October, tallying 28 points on 8-of-12 shooting, 6-of-9 from 3-point range. According to Eurobasket.com, Alex appeared in just one game with the senior team, logging two minutes in an April 15 contest.

So while his brother is of the most well-known athletes in the world, Alex is a virtual unknown to the average fan, unless they happen to have watched a lot of Wisconsin high school or Spanish B-team basketball. Scouts, of course, have a better feel for the 6-8 forward with a 7-2 wingspan and have undoubtedly been tracking him closely given his family's reputation.

"Energetic," Alex said when asked to describe his game. "I would say I'm a leader, pretty vocal on and off the court. I just try to contribute to the game in any way I can.

"Obviously I'm kind of a raw talent, but just my versatility. I'm able to do a lot of things on the basketball court. Definitely my measurements, I have long arms, the way I can affect the game with my length."

Alex may not have the sheer size of Giannis, but he definitely shares a similar build to his brothers, particularly with his length. To varying degrees, each brother that has entered the league has been pretty raw, so that alone wouldn't shy a franchise away from potentially drafting or signing the youngest brother and hoping he can develop with repetitions in the G League.

The Pacers were the third team that Alex worked out for. He said his pitch to teams is that he is "coachable" and "willing to adjust and learn" with any team that thinks it can help unlock his potential.

"I don't think I've touched nowhere near where I could be," he said. "I just have to keep getting better, keep getting better, and one day tap that potential that I have."

Of course, Alex has the benefit of having what he called "an unbelievable support system" in three brothers that have already reached the NBA. He received some extra motivation this month after watching Giannis and Thanasis bring a championship to Milwaukee.

"It's unbelievable," he said. "Just to be able to witness it and kind of be a part of it through them and just seeing how happy they are and how deserving they are.

"I was talking to my mother...16,000 people in the arena, 60,000 people right outside it. I was asking her, 'When is the next time you're going to see that many people happy at the same time?' She was like, 'I might never see it.' It was a crazy, crazy, crazy experience. I hope I get to witness another experience like that in my life."

Should Alex reach the NBA, the Antetokounmpo brothers would join rarified air. There have been a number of trios of brothers to play in the league in recent years, including the Holidays, Plumlees, and Zellers. But it appears that only once before have four brothers all reached the NBA — Caldwell, Charles, Wil, and Major Jones, who played primarily in the 1970s and 80s (Wil actually was a member of the Pacers in their inaugural NBA season in 1976-77).

Alex admitted that joining that elite fraternity would be a dream come true for him and his family, but said that those thoughts are far from his mind at the moment.

"I try to focus on myself," he said. "And try to focus on one thing at a time and just getting better in order to one day achieve that goal."

JaQuori McLaughlin

UC Santa Barbara guard JaQuori McLaughlin (#3) was the Big West Player of the Year as a senior. (Photo Credit: NBAE/Getty Images)

McLaughlin Makes Final Pitch

While Alex Antetokounmpo is an admittedly raw talent, McLaughlin is a more polished product. The 23-year-old combo guard spent five seasons in college, beginning his career at Oregon State before transferring to UC Santa Barbara.

McLaughlin averaged 16 points, 3.5 rebounds, 5.2 steals, and 1.5 assists as a senior, leading the Gauchos to a 22-5 record, conference title, and a berth in the NCAA Tournament, where they fell to fifth-seeded Creighton in one of the best first-round games, a 63-62 thriller that came down to the final seconds.

The 6-4 guard possesses a few qualities that could entice NBA teams. He shot over 40 percent from 3-point range in each of his last two seasons in college and also displayed plenty of ability as a playmaker capable of creating his own shots or setting up his teammates. McLaughlin had a .614 true shooting percentage and also a 31.5 percent assist percentage as a senior, both the highest marks of his collegiate career.

Still, he put up those numbers in relative obscurity in the Big West, which he thinks could be a factor in the lack of recognition he receives in mock draft projections.

"I definitely feel like I'm underrated," McLaughlin said. "I feel like I've had a chip on my shoulder my whole life, so it's nothing new to me. I feel like I love being the underdog."

As for what he can bring to the team, McLaughlin laid out why he believes he is a good fit on and off the court.

"Someone that can come off the bench my first couple years, help the team out, make winning plays any way I can, and be that leader," he said. "Someone that's going to come in, contribute to the culture of a team."