News coming out of the United States has Anchorage, Alaska native Doron Perkins flying to Russia to receive a Russian passport and become the new point guard for the Russian national team. This move borders on absurdity.
Henry Abbott reported on True Hoop last Friday that Russian national team coach has asked Perkins to become the leader of his team for the up-coming EuroBasket 2009 in Poland after veteran playmaker J.R. Holden decided to take a break from the Russian national team.
Abbott asks in his column about backlash in the United States about Perkins exchanging the red-white-and-blue of the U.S. for the – well – red-white-and-blue of Russia.
But what about a backlash in Europe?
J.R. Holden of course played in Russia for years before getting his Russian passport. As did Kelly McCarty. And Travis Hansen was a third American men’s player to play in Russia before getting his Russia paperwork.
Even American women’s players Becky Hammon and Kelly Miller had played in Russia before getting the right to play for Russia internationally.
After finishing his collegiate career with Santa Clara in 2005, Perkins played a year in Japan and then spent one season in Germany. He moved to Belgium for his next season and then played last season with Israeli club Maccabi Haifa Heat.
Yes … that’s right. Doron Perkins NEVER even played in Russia and is close to getting his passport.
Russia’s coach David Blatt is an Israeli American and obviously noticed Perkins playing last season with Haifa, where he averaged 17.0 ppg, 6.3 rpg and league-bests in assists (5.3 apg) and steals (3.0 spg).
Of course, Perkins would help Blatt’s Russian side in Poland. Russia have always struggled to develop point guards. And it seems they have found their solution again. Only this time, the powers-to-be in Russia took a step too far.
By giving Perkins a passport despite never having played a second in Russia, the Russian basketball federation is dangerously close to turning international basketball into a farce.