Petteri Koponen playing for Honka in 2007.
|Nickname||"Petsku", "Pete", "The Finnisher"|
|Height||6 ft 4.5 in (1.94 m)|
|Weight||195 lb (88 kg)|
|League||Lega Serie A|
|Born||April 13, 1988
|High school||Mäkelänrinne High School, Helsinki|
|Draft||1st round, 30th overall, 2007
|Former teams||Tapiolan Honka (2004-2008)|
Petteri Koponen (born 13 April 1988, in Helsinki) is a Finnish professional basketball player. He currently plays for Virtus Bologna. He is a point guard, weighs 195 pounds (88.5 kg) and is 6 feet 4.5 inches tall (194 cm). He played for Tapiolan Honka in Finland's Korisliiga basketball league. He was drafted as the 30th pick by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 2007 NBA Draft, and his NBA rights are currently held by the Portland Trail Blazers.
His first club was Malmi Super-Koris ("Malmi super-basketball"), from where he joined one of Finland's top clubs, Espoo Honka. This happened for the 2004-05 season. Under the guidance of coach Mihailo Pavicevic he quickly developed into a key component of Honka's 2006-07 Finnish Championship-winning side. During the 2006-07 campaign Koponen averaged 12.4 points, 2.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game. The number of assists may sound small, but in Finland assists are harder to come by than in the NBA because of the difference in FIBA rules, and the league leader had an average of only 5 assists.
Koponen began his military service in the Lahti Military Academy in October 2007, participating in a special campaign built for professional athletes such as Finnish tennis player Jarkko Nieminen. The Finnish League 2007-08 season began slowly, with Koponen trying to adapt to the military recruit training. Koponen struggled a lot in the opening month of the season, but found his rhythm in November, recording 21.4 points, 4.1 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 2.1 steals a game while draining 55.6% of his 2-point attempts, 45.8% of his 3-point attempts and 81.0% of his free throws. In the first game of December, Koponen played through a concussion and led the Honka Playboys to an overtime victory over Team Componenta, scoring 32 points, grabbing six rebounds and dishing out five assists. After the game, the concussion forced Koponen to be sidelined for a week.
Koponen played in the World All-Star team of the Nike Hoop Summit in 2007, and was considered one of the best players at the tournament. He recorded 7 points and 6 assists with only one turnover, playing against future NBA guards such as Derrick Rose and O. J. Mayo.
On June 28, 2007, Koponen was taken 30th overall in the 2007 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers. He was the final first-round pick in the draft in 2007. Philadelphia then traded Koponen to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for their number 42 pick, Vanderbilt University swingman Derrick Byars, and cash considerations.
On July 14, 2008 Petteri had by far his most exciting performance against NBA competition. In a Las Vegas Summer League game against the Washington Wizards, Koponen scored 19 points, shooting 4-for-6 in three point attempts. The most impressive part of his game was that late in the game with the Blazers down by 9, Koponen put on an offensive show with his shooting, driving and passing abilities to lead the Blazers to a 78-73 victory.
The summer of 2006 was Koponen's coming-out party. First, he played very well in the FIBA Europe Under-20 Championship B-level competition, leading the Finnish team to third place by losing just one game. After that he was promoted to the senior men's Finnish national team. He showed no fear as he played like a veteran and got to play quite a lot. His best game was against the small country Luxembourg national basketball team; he scored 19 points and handed out 7 assists.
Koponen was a main contributor in the Finnish men's national team in the summer of 2007. Finland earned a spot in European Division A after crushing the Romanian national basketball team in a deciding game by a score of 111-61. Koponen averaged 10.6 points, 2.7 assists, 1.7 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 21.3 minutes a game with the national team. Just days before the national team campaign tipped off, Koponen announced he would return to the Honka Playboys for one more season.
Koponen is known for his agility and passing skills. He is at his best when he gets to push the ball forward on a fast break and mostly makes the right decision on the fast break, whether it means giving up the ball or taking it to the rack by himself.