Considered a longshot when he was invited to try out for the French national team last month, Wizards forward Kevin Seraphin made the final 12-man roster for Eurobasket in Lithuania. He will join a roster that includes fellow NBA players Tony Parker, Joakim Noah, Boris Diaw, Nicolas Batum and Ronny Turiaf.
France Coach Vincent Collet made his final cuts after the French team was routed by Spain, 77-53, in a friendly on Wednesday. Serpahin was a surprising selection since Collet had originally brought him along as an alternate as the team prepared for the Olympic qualifying tournament, which will run from Aug. 31 to Sept. 18. Collet was forced to make some adjustments to the roster, especially after Phoenix Suns swingman Mickael Pietrus was forced to leave the team after having surgery on his injured right knee. But Collet added that Seraphin earned his spot based on his performance during training camp and exhibitions.
Seraphin, 21, was selected ahead of veteran big man Ali Traore, who had contributed to the team during the FIBA world championship last season in Turkey. Seraphin was unable to participate with the French team last season as he dealt with a knee injury.
“Ali showed better things in 2010, and although initially he was to be in the final 12, the revelation to his position has been Kevin Seraphin so I decided to gradually change the team we had planned,” Collet said in a statement released by the French Basketball Federation. “We had no idea that Kevin could be at this level and even if the decision is cruel to Ali, the interest of the France team must come first.”