Sons of Canada, Poland, Estonia and Gabon are likely starters in this year’s Final Four.
Also represented will be Israel, Japan, Australia, Senegal, Denmark, England and France.
There’s definitely an international flair to the Final Four’s 2017 edition.
Fifteen players on the rosters for Oregon, South Carolina and Gonzaga claim hometowns from 11 nations outside the United States. Only North Carolina has an all-U.S. roster.
Last year, only three players from outside the U.S. were in the Final Four, including one of the biggest names, Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield, a native of the Bahamas. Others included fellow Sooner Dinijyl Walker from Canada and Syracuse’s Chinoso Okoboh from Nigeria.
Three likely starters for South Carolina claim hometowns outside the U.S. — sophomore forward Chris Silva of Libreville, Gabon; senior guard Duane Notice of Toronto; and freshman forward Maik Kostar of Tallinn, Estonia. Also on the team’s roster is Khadim Gueye, a freshman forward from Dakar, Senegal, and Ran Tut, a junior forward from Melbourne, Australia.
“I’ve coached a lot of foreign kids and I understand their journey,” said Gamecocks coach Frank Martin, whose parents fled Cuba to the U.S. “I respect the fact that they come here to figure out a way to make a better life so they can do better to help their families.”
Oregon starters Dillon Brooks and Dylan Ennis are both from the Ontario province of Canada. Chris Boucher, also a starter until his injury against Arizona in the Pac-12 Tournament’s title game, is from Montreal. On the Ducks’ bench also are junior forwards Kavell Bigby-Williams of London and Roman Sorkin of Ashdod, Israel.
Gonzaga’s massive senior center, Przemek Karnowski, is from Torun, Poland. Zag backups include center Jacob Larsen of Holte, Denmark; forward Rui Hachimura of Sendai, Japan; and forward Killian Tillie of Cagnes-sur-Mer, France, all freshmen, as well as junior guard Dustin Triano and Vancouver, Canada.