The FIBA Basketball World Cup tips off on Saturday, and while much of your focus has surely been on the watered down U.S. roster, there are plenty of your favorite mid-major stars of years past taking part.
Here’s that trip down memory lane and it starts with Australia, which unsurprisingly doubles as a Randy Bennett Greatest Hits album. You don’t have to think hard to remember these guys, who have seven All-WCC first team appearances between them, and a smattering of AP All-American accolades.
Not to be outdone, Mark Few chimes in with his (and Tommy Lloyd’s) mastery of the global recruiting scene. It starts in Canada with two of his fairly recent stars:
But hey, there’s much more with Few, including a guy you don’t have to strain too hard to remember playing for Japan, and a fellow Zag lottery pick playing for Lithuania.
Argentina’s Golden Generation has moved on — though 39-year old Luis Scola is still kicking around — and the South American country will now rely heavily on former George Washington star Patricio Garino. The guard started 117 games over his four seasons in DC, and put up a healthy career stat line (12.0 PPG, 36.4 3P%) while helping lead the Colonials to an NIT championship in 2016.
Garino isn’t the only former Colonial set to play a big role in the World Cup. His college teammate Yuta Watanabe — who became the second Japanese player to play in the NBA — figures to suit up in a primary role for Japan.
Playing alongside Hachimura and Watanabe on a formidable Japanese side is Nick Fazekas, who put Nevada on the map in the mid-2000s under Trent Johnson and Mark Fox, and has played professionally in Japan since 2012.
France isn’t lacking for representation, with former Wyoming big man Amath M’Baye on the roster. While he may be better remember by college basketball fans as a starter on Lon Kruger’s first winning team at Oklahoma with a young Buddy Hield, he spent his first two years dominating the interior in Laramie’s thin air.
You weren’t getting a Greece roster without the First Family of Greek Basketball, and sure enough former Dayton forward Kostas Antetokounmpo will be playing off his slightly more famous brother.
Puerto Rico has a pair of former mid-major stars of recent vintage, with 2017 Mountain West Player of the Year Gian Clavell and former San Diego wing Isaiah Pinerio, who recently inked a contract with the Kings.
Nigeria is loaded with talent and could be a sneaky contender, and that includes former UC Santa Barbara star Gabe Vincent, who started 101 games and never averaged under double figure scoring over four seasons in the Big West.
Staying in the Big West, 2014 all-conference first teamer and all-hair team contender Isaac Fotu (Hawaii) will be manning the paint for New Zealand. He’ll play alongside Rob Loe, who was a big part of the Saint Louis resurgence under Rick Majerus.
And finally, a guy you never forgot because he’s got one more season left at Nevada, Nisre Zouzoua, who will suit up for Ivory Coast before heading back to Reno to try and play a big role for Steve Alford.