Naturalized just a few months before the Euro, the US leader will be one of the main assets of La Roja against France this Sunday (8:30 p.m.), in the final.
His naturalization raised questions, but Spain’s journey to the Eurobasket-2022 final owes a lot to the recruitment of American leader Lorenzo Brown, the main architect of Iberian success. Best passer (7.2) and second best scorer (15.4 pts) of La Roja at Euro 2022, Brown has only been able to claim his Spanish nationality for less than three months.
Reason why he was not frankly aware of the Franco-Spanish rivalry in basketball on Friday. « Antagonism means nothing to mehe admitted at a press conference.. But I’ll find out when I get back to the hotel. I have the impression that we will not be long in speaking to me about it again.»
Originally from the suburbs of Atlanta, he was naturalized in early July to compensate for the absence of Ricky Rubio, who suffered a ruptured cruciate ligament in his left knee at the very end of 2021. A practice permitted by the rules of the International Federation (Fiba) which allow each team a naturalized player, even without any connection with the country he represents.
Fernandez criticizes … then changes his mind
The fact remains that the Brown case, ex-player of Kazan and new recruit of Maccabi Tel Aviv, created a stir in a country that is double world champion (2006 and 2019) and triple European champion (2009, 2011 and 2015), until with its selection partners. « It doesn’t look good to me, 37-year-old veteran Rudy Fernandez regretted the news shortly after the news in early July. « I have already spoken to the president about it and as captain, I had to give my opinion. I learned from the press that they had naturalized this player, who had no connection with the country. There are plenty of Spanish players who can claim in his place and in the end they might not get the recognition they deserve with the signing of this player.»
The American, for example, deprived of Euro 2022 the local attraction Juan Nunez, MVP of the European U20 Championship disputed this summer. But even before being on the way to collecting a fourth European title, Rudy Fernandez had changed his mind at the beginning of August saying to himself « delightedof the arrival of Lorenzo Brown.
The Lithuanian Mindaugas Kuzminskas was less so after his elimination in the round of 16 when a Spanish journalist asked him what had been missing from his selection: “I don’t know what this Spanish team would look like without Lorenzo Brown, because you only signed him this summer. But it’s like that« . « I don’t pay the slightest attention to the hubbub outside“, swept the interested party. « All I care about is what guys think of me.»
Lorenzo Brown magnifies this collective.
The Italian coach of La Roja Sergio Scariolo, at the wand in four of the five Spanish titles, rubbed shoulders with the leader when he was assistant coach of the Toronto Raptors in the NBA. « He stood up to the vox populi“, underlines the French coach Vincent Collet. His Blues could also count in the future on NBA star Joël Embiid, who became Franco-Cameroonian in early July by way of naturalization. « Lorenzo Brown who magnifies this collectiverents Collet. Two months ago voices were raised against this naturalization and Scariolo did not give up, he knew he needed this player to achieve what they did.»
Despite its eight players (out of twelve) playing their first major tournament, Spain came back to score each time in the final phase: against Lithuania (from 68-75 to 102-94 ap), Finland (from 35- 50 to 100-90) and again Germany (from 70-77 to 96-91). « We do not feel them panicking, describes Vincent Collet. Even with ten points behind against Germany. We feel they are able to play under control. This is what Brown gives them, he gives the impression of being almost calm but with a boost and formidable acceleration.The Germans, to whom he passed 29 points and six assists, can attest to that.