The Slovenia Times

Basketball team gets first naturalised player after 20 years


The 27-year-old, who was born in Germany, has been recently put on a 30-man preliminary roster of the Slovenian national team ahead of the training camp for the EuroBasket in September.

After playing for six years in the NBA for four teams, the 211 cm tall power forward and centre had a two-year stint in Russia's Lokomotiv Kuban in 2014-2016 and currently plays for the European powerhouse Real Madrid.

Radoslav Nesterović, the secretary general of the Slovenian Basketball Association, had much to do with Slovenia managing to convince Randolph to join the Slovenian national team.

Nesterović, ae former NBA champion with the San Antonio Spurs, said that this was an opportunity that must not be missed.

"The idea was born during last year's qualifiers, when we realised that we have no real player at the positions 4 and 5. The arrival of Randolph is the right solution, because he is a good athlete, an excellent offensive player and even better defensive player," he said.

While adding naturalised players, mainly Americans, to European national basketball teams has been a usual thing lately, Slovenia decided on such a move for the first time 20 years ago when it added guard Ariel McDonald to its squad.

"A few other solutions were being considered, but Randolph was our selection number one from the very beginning. No other player would cover such a wide spectrum of the game. Although Randolph still does not have a passport, we have guarantees that he will get one in the second half of July."

According to Nesterović, Randolph has told the Slovenian Basketball Association that he is interested in playing for the Slovenian national team because he would like to return to the NBA.

"Participating in the team means a new challenge for him. He is looking forward to playing with Goran Dragić and Luka Dončić, but he is also aware that NBA scouts will be watching him for the entire summer."

Randolph will join the team on 19 July for the start of the training camp. He will get a few days off in August to get married.


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