Netherlands national basketball team

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Netherlands Netherlands
Netherlands basketball team logo.png
FIBA ranking 44 Increase 1 (3 July 2018)
Joined FIBA 1946
FIBA zone FIBA Europe
National federation NBB
Coach Toon van Helfteren
Nickname(s) Oranje (Orange)
Olympic Games
Appearances None
FIBA World Cup
Appearances 1 (1986)
Medals None
Appearances 15
Medals None
Kit body black nzfc shoulders.png
Home jersey
Kit shorts.png
Team colours
Kit body black nzfc shoulders.png
Away jersey
Kit shorts.png
Team colours

The Dutch national basketball team is the basketball team that represents the Netherlands in international competitions. It is administered by the NMT, an organisation solely for the national team.[1] When it qualified for the FIBA EuroBasket, team Netherlands played quite competitive at some of the tournaments. The team reached the Final Four once and proceeded to the playoffs several times. However, its last appearance was in 1989 when it finished 8th.

Since 1991, the team has had some tough years, overshadowed by lack of both money and support from fans and media. In the 2015 tournament they made their first appearance in 25 years, only two years after it had been proposed that the team should be dissolved.

The team also represents itself as the Orange Lions.


1946–1991: Early years[edit]

The Netherlands, playing at EuroBasket 1959

The Netherlands were one of the teams that played in the 1946, 1947, 1949 and 1951 EuroBasket tournaments. The 5th place in 1949 was the best performance of the team.

1961–1991: EuroBasket appearances and success[edit]

Oranje qualified for three EuroBaskets in a row from 1961 till 1967. After two missed tournaments, the Netherlands had another 3-EuroBasket appearances streak. In 1977, the Netherlands' star player Kees Akerboom, Sr. shone during the tournament. He was the top scorer of EuroBasket and got a place in the All-Tournament Team.

In 1983, the Netherlands had its biggest success in history under head coach Vladimir Heger: the team achieved fourth place at the EuroBasket tournament. In the third-place game it lost to the Soviet-Union.

1991–2012: Long mediocre period[edit]

Francisco Elson was the face of the team for a long time

From 1991 until 2012, the Netherlands did not qualify for a EuroBasket tournament. Star player Francisco Elson, former NBA-champion, represented the team on several occasions but the team never came close to qualifying. In this period, notable Dutch players like Dan Gadzuric were not willing to play for the team. Home games were usually played at the Topsportcentrum in Almere and usually had little to no media attention or fan support in the Netherlands.

Rising from Ashes (2012–2015)[edit]

Toon van Helfteren coached the team to it first EuroBasket tournament in 25 years

In December 2012, it was announced that the Netherlands team would be dissolved for 2 years, because the national federation NBB was not willing to invest money in it. After a campaign by Dutch players who played in the Dutch Basketball League, the national team was eventually saved. Sports broadcaster Sport1 became the main sponsor and DBL-teams invested in the team, which started playing again.[2]

During August 2013, the Netherlands was on its way to qualification for FIBA EuroBasket 2015, but lost two games 20–0 because the team played with two players – Mohamed Kherrazi and Sean Cunningham – who were identified as foreign players by the FIBA.[3] The NBB believed that both were eligible players, and was upset that the attention came up after the Netherlands already won 2 games.[4]

"Miracle of 2014"[edit]

At the start of the second 2015-qualification round, things looked bad for Oranje. The DBL-teams didn't have any more money to invest in the team and the NBB wasn't ready to take the team back. Head coach Toon van Helfteren, who worked as volunteer, still did prepare for the qualifying games. He invited 42 players to play for the national team,[5] but after most (notable) players rejected the offer, he started his first training with 7 players. The team eventually shocked the world, by beating heavy favorite Montenegro in the group to get the second place in the group. On 27 August 2014, the Dutch national team qualified for EuroBasket for the first time in 25 years.[6]

Return to EuroBasket (2015–present)[edit]

The national team left the NBB and FEB, from 2015 the team was run by the NMT. Van Helfteren extended his contract with the national team. In contrast to the summer of 2014, big name players from foreign leagues applied to play for the national team.

In the first game at EuroBasket 2015, the Dutch beat Georgia 73–72 behind Charlon Kloof's 22 and Worthy de Jong's 16 points.[7] The Netherlands remaining four games were lost, but only with single digits to power houses such as Croatia and Greece.

Competitive record[edit]


Current roster[edit]

Roster for the EuroBasket 2015.[8]

Netherlands men's national basketball team roster roster
Players Coaches
Pos. # Name Age – Date of birth Ht. Club
SG 0 Franke, Yannick 19 – (1996-05-21)21 May 1996 1.90 m (6 ft 3 in) Bisons Loimaa Finland
PG 5 Williams, Leon 23 – (1992-03-19)19 March 1992 1.89 m (6 ft 2 in) SPM Shoeters Netherlands
SG 6 de Jong, Worthy 27 – (1988-03-14)14 March 1988 1.94 m (6 ft 4 in) ZZ Leiden Netherlands
PG 7 Kloof, Charlon 25 – (1990-03-20)20 March 1990 1.90 m (6 ft 3 in) MZT Skopje Republic of Macedonia
SF 9 Kherrazi, Mohamed 25 – (1990-06-29)29 June 1990 2.00 m (6 ft 7 in) ZZ Leiden Netherlands
SF 10 de Pagter, Ralf 26 – (1989-07-22)22 July 1989 2.00 m (6 ft 7 in) SPM Shoeters Netherlands
SF 12 Akerboom, Jr., Kees 31 – (1983-12-20)20 December 1983 2.00 m (6 ft 7 in) SPM Shoeters Netherlands
F/C 13 Schaftenaar, Roeland 27 – (1988-07-29)29 July 1988 2.11 m (6 ft 11 in) Rethymno Cretan Kings Greece
C 18 de Jong, Nicolas 27 – (1988-05-15)15 May 1988 2.10 m (6 ft 11 in) Cholet Basket France
PF 21 Smeulders, Robin 28 – (1987-06-19)19 June 1987 2.08 m (6 ft 10 in) EWE Baskets Oldenburg Germany
G 44 Slagter, Arvin 29 – (1985-10-19)19 October 1985 1.92 m (6 ft 4 in) SPM Shoeters Netherlands
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)
  • (C) Team captain
  • Club – describes last
    club before the tournament
  • Age – describes age
    on 5 September 2015

Notable rosters[edit]

World Cup[edit]




  1. ^ "Team profile". Retrieved 15 May 2011. 
  2. ^ "Nederlandse basketballers gered door Sport1". (in Dutch). Retrieved 2014-06-15. 
  3. ^ "Netherlands Incur Penalty". FIBA Europe. Retrieved 2014-06-15. 
  4. ^ "NBB niet eens met straf". NOS. Retrieved 2014-06-15. 
  5. ^ "Eredivisie basketbal Nederland". Retrieved 2015-01-16. 
  6. ^ "Basketballers na 25 jaar naar EK". Retrieved 2015-01-16. 
  7. ^ Dutch Win On Return
  8. ^ "NETHERLANDS EuroBasket 2015 Roster". FIBA Europe. Retrieved 7 September 2015. 

External links[edit]