Mirotic12 wrote:An official of the Greek Basketball Federation clarified the situation with Naz Mitrou-Long. Mitrou-Long has apparently committed to play with Greece's national team program. However, despite having the right to be a natural born Greek citizen at birth (Greece has the same laws as USA, that being born to a parent with citizenship grants you citizenship), FIBA will not allow him to count as a Greek player.
FIBA evidently changed their nationality rules a year ago, and made it so that even if your country grants natural born citizenship at birth (like Greece and USA for example), you cannot count as a natural player under FIBA rules, unless you were physically in that country and officially registered your citizenship before you turned 16.
Since Mitrou-Long didn't do that before he turned 16, he cannot count as a Greek player. The rules change was also apparently retroactive, supposedly going back to 2010. So the following natural birth right Greek citizenship players (under Greek law) can't be counted as natural players in FIBA tournaments anymore:
Elijah Mitrou-Long (Naz's brother)
Nick Calathes and Kosta Koufos also couldn't be counted as a Greek players either, under the rules change, since they were not registered by age 16 (Calathes was 19 and Koufos was 18). But they were outside of the retroactive time period going back to 2010, so because of that they can still count as Greek players in FIBA competitions.
So Greece can only have one of these players on their rosters now under FIBA rules, since teams are only allowed to have one naturalized player. So Greece would have to choose just one of the Mitrou-Long brothers, Dorsey, Auguste, Bramos. Greece evidently is also considering not using any of them, since up until now they didn't ever allow any naturalized players, and now these players are considered naturalized. For example, Peja Stojakovic and Rony Seikaly both wanted to play with Greece instead of FR Yugoslavia (Peja) and USA (Seikaly), but the Greek federation wouldn't even allow players like that to join the national team, because the federation didn't allow naturalized players, and Peja and Seikaly were really pissed off about it then, and still are.
So there is some question if any of them can play for Greece now. Although the federation official did say that if the federation changes their rules and allows for naturalized players, that Dorsey should have precedent over the other players, because of his commitment to the national program as a youth. They also clarified that no naturalized players that don't have natural born Greek birth rights under Greek law will be allowed in the national team.
So evidently, Mitrou-Long committed to play with Greece, but recent FIBA rules changes have made it complicated for him to actually do so. If the federation does change the rules, and allows for naturalized players, then I would guess Mitrou-Long would be the second choice after Dorsey, or maybe the third choice after Dorsey and Auguste.
FIBA also changed the rules to where these natural birth rights Greek players that were born outside of Greece won't count as Greek players in the Greek League and Greek Cup, unless they were playing in Greek competitions by the age of 14. So maybe that's the reason why Mitrou-Long never signed with Olympiacos last year, even though reports said he had agreed with them. The rules change probably ended that.
Makes sense but I thought this was known for a while. This has been the battle the Philippines has be waging with FIBA for years over Clarkson. They have been trying to get them to waive the "passport/citizenship by 16" rule so he wouldn't be considered naturalized and they could still have Blatche or some other mercenary there as well.
These kids really should have that citizenship and passport secured by 16. Otherwise there is just too much of this shadiness with countries offering kids citizenship with really loose ties such as great grandparents - it becomes clear this is only happening for basketball reasons.
If anyone cares this doesn't apply to Brandon Clarke, Trey Lyles(both born in Canada), or Kyle Wiltjer who secured citizenship and passport well before 16. Nor does it impact Brazdeikis who was born in Lithuania. Not sure if it would impact anyone else.
However I wonder if we could ever naturalize someone - perhaps Nurse can convince one of his long term Raptors to jump on board.