John Wall and Bradley Beal won't be playing in the upcoming World Cup of Basketball. However, there will still be a member of the Washington Wizards in Team USA's tournament opening game.
The men's national team faces Finland on Aug. 30. Drew Gooden is one-half Finnish. A source confirmed to CSNwashington.com that Gooden plans to play for Finland's national team and that the Wizards will give him permission to do just that.
Gooden's mother is Finnish. Gooden's American father played professional basketball in Finland. The two met and here we are. The big man talked about the FInnish situation with ESPN in 2007. Here's a sample of that interview. (h/t Eye on Basketball)
You're half-Finnish, right? You know any Finnish?
Gooden: I know a little bit. My mother is from Finland and my father is from California. He met my mother in Finland while he was playing professional basketball overseas.
When was the last time you were in Finland?
Gooden: I was in Finland seven years ago. I used to go every two years to see my family. My grandfather and grandmother are out there.
No idea if Gooden's been back to his mother's homeland since. Regardless, it appears he'll play for the national team.
The idea of Gooden playing for FInland first popped up with a brief mention during Friday's Team USA televised scrimmage. TruthAboutIt.net first confirmed with a source that Gooden was indeed on the Finnish roster.
Finland could use the help. NBA player Erik Murphy and former Univeristy of Utah star Hanno Mottola are likely the only familiar names to basketball fans in this country. From ProBasketballTalk.com:
Finland, the world’s 39th ranked team, made the World Cup as one of FIBA’s “wild card” selections along with Brazil (ranked 10th), Greece (fifth) and Turkey (seventh). Finland was taken in front of China, Russia (2012 Olympic bronze medalists) and Germany (among others) for a wild card spot.
How did such a low seed vault over all those other teams to get a coveted spot? Well, they did have four wins at EuroBasket. But really it’s that they travel well and had the backing of Rovio (the makers of Angry Birds) — basically, they were going to make FIBA money at the venue.
Nice to know that FIBA has some FIFA in them. Can we expect the next basketball World Cup in Qatar?
Sounds like we can expect Gooden, who stepped in for the WIzards last season when Nene went down with a leg injury, in Spain later this month. Meanwhile Nene is on the Brazilian national team.