The Washington Wizards did end up having a player added to a World Cup roster this week; it just wasn't who fans were expecting. Forward Drew Gooden has announced his intention to play for Finland in the upcoming World Cup, according to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post. Gooden is half Finnish; his mother, Ulla, is Finnish, and met his father Andrew while he was playing basketball in Finland.
The 32-year old forward will likely be a prominent player on a Finnish team that isn't exactly brimming with high-quality talent. Ranked 39th in the world, Finland was one of the tournament's wild card teams, making the field on the strength of a solid Eurobasket performance and strong financial backing from Rovio, the company that created Angry Birds. Cavaliers forward Erik Murphy will join Gooden as the only other NBA player on the roster.
Gooden signed with the Wizards full-time in the middle of last season after performing well on two 10-day contracts and resigned with the team at the veterans minimum this offseason. He averaged 8.3 points and 5.2 rebounds last season while demonstrating improved shooting range.
Finland will open their World Cup campaign against USA on August 30.
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