Pablo Prigioni is against naturalized players and considers national teams ‘pure’

2022-09-21T16:39:23+00:00 2022-09-21T16:44:11+00:00.

Giannis Askounis

21/Sep/22 16:39

New head coach of Argentina and FIBA AmeriCup champion, Pablo Prigioni refuses to use naturalized players

By Johnny Askounis/

Despite being permitted to name one naturalized player per international game, according to FIBA rules, that is not a real option for Argentina senior national team selector Pablo Prigioni.

Fresh off guiding Argentina to the 2022 FIBA AmeriCup championship, the former player rushed to rule out ever using a naturalized player. He shared his view in a long interview with Basquet Plus.

“I have always been against it,” he replied to a question about naturalized players, “As long as I am in the national team, that is not going to happen. There won’t even be a member of the coaching staff from another country. When I am not here, they can decide on their own.”

A large chunk of his playing days was based in Spain. Former teams include Real Madrid and Baskonia. Therefore, he expanded his opinion into the 2022 EuroBasket and naturalized Lorenzo Brown helping Spain win gold.

“For me, the national team is pure. We already have our club competitions for players from all around the world to compete against each other. And it is fantastic,” he added, “I am not against national teams recruiting naturalized players but against the rule itself. I prefer to lose with players of our own country to win with a player who is not Argentine. I don’t think Lorenzo Brown feels the weight of Spain’s jersey like [Sergio] Llull or Rudy [Fernandez]. That is where the discussion ends for me.”

Prigioni, 45, was named the new head coach of Argentina in early September, ahead of the AmeriCup held in Brazil. On the way to first place, his side won all six games, including the tournament hosts in the gold medal game. He will remain in charge heading into the next international windows and the bottom end of the 2023 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers.