The 2022 European Championship is characterized not only by impressive individual performances, but also by an extremely wide map of participants. The 24 national teams are represented by representatives of 26 different nations.
Half of the national teams of the tournament had naturalized basketball players in their ranks. Representing the Lithuanian national team Ignas Brazdeikis is technically the only Canadian on this list – even though he was born in Lithuania, he got that status by playing for Canada’s youth team.
Not included in the list Tyler Dorsey, who was born in the United States of America (USA), but his mother is Greek, and the defender himself managed to represent Greece’s 19-year-old national team. It is true that before that he participated in the US youth national team camp, but did not make the final team.
All eleven remaining naturalized players are Americans. Germany has one naturalized player each (Nick Weiler-Babb), Slovenia (Mike Tobey), Spain (Lorenzo Brown), Bulgaria (Dee Bost), Croatia (Jaleen Smith), Bosnia and Herzegovina (John Roberson), Turkey (Shane Larkin), Poland (AJSlaughter), Montenegro (Kendrick Perry), Hungary (Mikael Hopkins) and Sakartvel (Thaddus McFadden).
Right before the championship, N.Weiler-Babb, L.Brown, K.Perry and J.Smith got their citizenships and made their debut in the national team. AJSlaughter, who has represented Poland since 2015, has the most experience in FIBA tournaments, D. Bost joined the Bulgarian national team in 2017.
It is a coincidence that there are 11 naturalized Americans in the tournament – many championship teams have the same number of “home-grown” players, so the nations can basically be compared statistically.
After adding up the points earned until the semi-finals, the Americans become the most productive nation of the championship, having collected 744 points. The brightest in this graph are semi-finalists AJSlaughter (100 points) and Lorenzo Brown (94), the weakest is N. Weiler-Babb (13), who is still struggling and can still shoot.
The closest to the Americans are the Greeks (646 points), the Germans without N. Weiler-Babbo (642), the Finns (616), the Italians (587), the Slovenians without M. Tobey (572), the French (561) and the Spanish without L. .Brown (539). The latter scored only six points more than the Lithuanians who played a match less (533). This gap widens only after subtracting the 64 points scored by I.Brazdeikis.
Three of the four teams that reached the semi-finals have one naturalized player each, although N. Weiler-Babbs does not play a prominent role. Exceptional in this context is the French national team, which will fill this place with the brightest star in the near future – Cameroonian Joel Embiid has received citizenship and will join in future tournaments.
Three national teams – Hungary, the Netherlands and Great Britain – remained without victories. Only the Hungarians had a naturalized player among them. The Estonians and the Israelis, who were worthy of the Americans, were also left behind in the playoffs.