While the Diaz Graham twins didn’t partake in activities surrounding international play, Federiko Federiko experienced a worthwhile stint with the Finnish National Team this summer.
A 6-foot-11 junior, Federiko transferred to Pitt following his freshman year at Northern Oklahoma. The Helsinki, Finland native began training with the national team on June 5.
“Anytime our guys have a chance to represent their countries, it’s something I want them to do,” Capel said. “I want them to have the opportunity if they want to do it. Federiko got a chance to go through that whole experience with their national team. He tried out for the World Cup, and right up to the final cuts, he was there.”
Despite his best efforts, Federiko didn’t make the cut for the 12-member national team roster competing in the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
“It was amazing,” Federiko said. “It was a good experience to play with some pro players and get to see my family.”
“He was disappointed that he didn’t make it,” Capel said. “Especially after spending a lot of time with them.”
Federiko was challenged on the court by seven-foot All-Star forward and 2022-23 NBA Most Improved Player Lauri Markkanen, a 25.6 points-per-game performer who shot 50% from the field last season.
“To get a chance to play against pros every day in practice, one of which was an NBA All-Star in Lauri Markkanen, to be coached by that group, and to be in organized basketball can do nothing but help you get better,” Capel said. “The experience was really good.”
Federiko averaged 6.6 points and 5.3 rebounds in over 23 minutes per game through 35 games (27 starts) of action as a sophomore. He was disappointed in missing out on the World Cup but found recourse in rejoining his teammates.
“He hated being away from his teammates,” Capel said. “They were so excited when he got back, and he was excited to be here, especially with his roommates [Jorge and Guillermo Diaz Graham]. The triplets. That’s really cool.”
The Panthers are in the midst of their second week of practice with fresh faces, including transfers Ishmael Leggett and Zack Austin, in addition to freshmen Jaland Lowe and Carlton Carrington. Federiko will once again be a critical piece to the 2023-24 puzzle and form a significant trio with the twins to impact the ACC for the second year in a row.