Struggling with sensory integration disorder as a young boy, Anastasios Marcopulos found himself craving sensory input while simultaneously being overwhelmed by the sounds and stimulus around him. He needed a way to express himself, and he found it on the basketball court.
“I came across basketball, and it was a way for me to calm myself down,” says Marcopulos. “I would go out in the yard and just shoot for hours on end. I found my center in basketball. It allowed me to stay focused on something.”
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Now a senior at Servite High School, the third year varsity player is a shooting guard, and his specialty is the three-point shot, as Marcopulos holds the record at Servite for highest three-point field goal shooting percentage at 43.8 percent, a record he set last season.
“Being a shooter, you’ve got to be able to shake off the misses,” says the 17-year-old. “The big thing about shooting is definitely confidence and having teammates [who] support me.”
His success on the court translates into the classroom, as Marcopulos maintains a 4.31 GPA while carrying several AP classes. Servite’s head basketball coach, John Morris, says that his strengths in both athletics and academics make Marcopulos the type of student-athlete that represents Servite well.
“Anastasios is a player who understands his role on the team and recognizes his strengths and weaknesses on the court and always plays to his strengths,” says Morris of the team’s captain. “The leadership he brings to our team in everything we do will be instrumental to any success we hope to achieve this year.”
The Newport Beach resident realizes he’s not alone on the court and feels the game has modeled the ideals of teamwork and trust.
“I think the biggest thing for me is trust in the people around you,” says Marcopulos. “Basketball is obviously a team sport, and I have to rely on the other four guys on the court with me to do their job so that I can succeed and the team can succeed.”
Marcopulos has a heart for serving local youth, and he makes a difference in the lives of kids who participate in Yorba Linda Basketball’s Challenger Division, a program created specifically for special needs players.
“That’s been a rewarding experience for me,” says Marcopulos, “just going there and being able to put a smile on a kid’s face has really inspired me.”
After high school, Marcopulos plans on studying education and using his ability to connect with young people by becoming a teacher and possibly a coach. The coach that has had the most impact on his own life is his father.
“He’s probably been the most influential person on my life,” says Marcopulos of his dad. “Whenever I have trouble in a certain situation…he always has the right answer—do the right thing, and it will all work out.”