Things I did not know before today: Drew Gooden is half Finnish. As in he has citizenship in Finland.
His father, a former professional basketball player, met his mother while playing in Finland, something he told ESPN’s Jemele Hill a few years back (hat tip to Eye on Basketball).
By the way, Finland is playing in the FIBA World Cup coming up, and it’s not exactly a country deep in high level basketball talent. So…
That is Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post confirming something ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla mentioned during the USA Basketball blue and white scrimmage on Friday night.
Gooden was waived by the Bucks after the 2013 season and was without a team last season until the Wizards gave him a couple 10-day contracts. He found a home playing with the bench group of the Wizards — his shooting helped space the floor as Andre Miller was dishing the rock — as they started to make their run last season before Nene’s return. Gooden’s game will blend well enough in international ball… plus it’s Finland. It’s not like they have a ton of better guys hanging around.
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?