With Usman Garuba in key role, Spain wins EuroBasket 2022

·3 min read

Spain certainly wasn’t the favorite heading into the 2022 European Basketball Championship (EuroBasket). But courtesy of Sunday’s 88-76 victory over France (box score) in the tournament’s championship game, they found a way to overcome the odds.

One big reason was second-year Houston Rockets forward Usman Garuba, who played a key role as a defender and facilitator.

“Our idea was that Lorenzo (Brown) would lead the team in attack, and Usman in defense,” Spanish national team coach Sergio Scariolo said of Garuba during the tournament. “He is an extraordinary defender. He can change everything. He has a big heart. He makes mistakes, of course. He is very young, but we trust him a lot.”

In Sunday’s title game, Garuba (4 assists, 2 points, 2 blocks) didn’t fill up the traditional box score, but he did make several contributions — including a statement block in the second half — that helped lead Spain to victory over Rudy Gobert and France. In all, the Spanish national team was +7 in Garuba’s 16 minutes. Scroll on for a look at his top highlights, along with postgame analysis and interviews.

With EuroBasket now in the books, Garuba travels back to his NBA home of Houston later this week, with training camp for the 2022-23 Rockets season set to begin on Tuesday, Sept. 27.

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Story originally appeared on Rockets Wire