Russia men’s national basketball team

National sports team

The Russia men’s national basketball team (Russian: национа́льная сбо́рная Росси́и по баскетболу) represents Russia in international basketball competition. They are organized and run by the Russian Basketball Federation (RBF). The team came into existence after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and its national team.

In the post-Soviet era, the Russia national team consisting of Soviet players under the guidance of Sergei Belov continued as one of the strongest in the world, winning the silver medal at the EuroBasket in 1993. Russia also won silver at the World Cup in consecutive appearances in 1994, and 1998. However, Belov’s departure saw Russia face multiple disappointments, until David Blatt took over as head coach. Under his guidance, the national team became champions at EuroBasket 2007 and also won bronze medals at EuroBasket 2011 and the 2012 Summer Olympics.

After Blatt left the staff, Russian national basketball saw a deep crisis due to corruption in the RBF and the federation’s conflict with FIBA. Following a failed performance at EuroBasket 2015, Russia did not qualify for the 2016 Summer Olympics. The situation stabilized after members of the RBF, including president Yulia Anikeeva, were dismissed. The current head coach is Zoran Lukić, taking over after Sergei Bazarevich.

After the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, FIBA banned Russian teams and officials from participating in FIBA basketball and FIBA 3×3 Basketball competitions.[2]


Early history (1992–2000)[edit]

The history of post-Soviet basketball in Russia dates back to 1992. The head coach back then was Yuri Selikhov. The first major tournament Russia participated in was the EuroBasket 1993 in Germany. The roster included players from the USSR era, among them were Sergey Bazarevich, and Dmitry Sukharev. Russia became runners-up, losing in the final to Germany, 70–71.[3]

Sergey Belov was appointed new head coach of the national team after the EuroBasket. Russia debuted at the 1994 World Cup, reaching the final, losing only to the United States, 91–137. At the EuroBasket 1995, Russia displayed a very mediocre performance at the tournament, where the national team eventually finished up in 7th place, with an (5-4) record overall. Two years later Russia made amends for their lackluster showing at the prior EuroBasket, beating France 108–89, to claim the bronze medal. At the 1998 World Cup, Russia once again took home the silver medal.[citation needed]

The final tournament under the guidance of Belov was the EuroBasket 1999 in France. Russia was at the top of its group in the preliminary round, only losing to Spain. In the quarterfinals, the national team lost to Italy, and in the classification matches defeated Germany, but lost to Lithuania in the fifth-place match.[citation needed]

Decline (2000–2006)[edit]

Belov was replaced by Stanislav Eremin as the new head coach in the new century. Russia debuted at their first Summer Olympic Games, in Sydney, Australia, in 2000. Russia lost two matches in the preliminary round and got to the quarterfinals from the bottom of the group, losing there to USA, 85–70. In the classification rounds, Russia lost to Canada, 86–83, in double overtime, finishing the Games in 8th place. At the EuroBasket 2001, the Russians took the overall 5th place. In the preliminary round, Russia won two out of three matches, defeating Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece but falling to Italy. Russia qualified to the quarterfinals as one of the top teams from their group, but lost to Spain, 62–55. Russia won both matches in the classification phase, defeating Latvia and France. At the 2002 World Cup in Indianapolis, Russia exhibited a lackluster outing during the competition and failed to medal, ending in 10th place.[citation needed]

In 2002, Sergey Elevich was named the new head coach until 2003, when he was replaced by Sergei Babkov,[4] who also coached for two years. However, Russia played poorly during this time, producing no outstanding results.

Blatt era (2006–2012)[edit]

On 9 March 2006, the new head coach of the national team became American-Israeli David Blatt. The period under Blatt’s guidance is marked by some great moments.

Russia won EuroBasket 2007, defeating the host nation Spain. In the first quarter of the final, the Russians were 10 points down, losing offensive and defensive rebounds and failing to counter Pau Gasol. The team also started the game cold from the three-point line. However, in the 4th quarter Russia came back. With a minute and a half remaining in regulation Spain led by five points, but then David Blatt took a timeout and Russia decreased the gap. In the final three seconds J. R. Holden converted on a difficult shot and Russia took the lead by one point. Spain quickly called timeout one second later. Out of the timeout Spain immediately got the ball into Gasol, for a potential game winner, but the shot was off the mark; and Russia prevailed 60–59.[5]Andrey Kirilenko was named MVP of the tournament.[6]

At the 2008 Olympics, the Russian roster consisted of strong players. In the first match they defeated Iran, but then lost to Croatia, Lithuania, Australia and Argentina. In the group phase Russia took the fifth position and finished their performance. At EuroBasket 2009, Russia was without its leader Kirilenko and Holden for personal reasons,[7] and Victor Khryapa due to injury.[8] They were replaced by young players Fedor Dmitriev, Egor Vyaltsev and Kelly McCarty. The Russians still managed to reach the quarterfinals, but were eventually eliminated by Serbia, to finish 7th place in the tournament.

On 12 December 2009, Russia received a wild card for the 2010 World Cup.[9] In the preliminary phase, Russia finished second in their group after victories over Puerto Rico, the Ivory Coast and Greece, but failed to win against Turkey. In the round of 16, they defeated New Zealand, but finished their performance in the quarterfinals, losing to the Americans, 79–89. Russia just like in the last EuroBasket finished 7th after losing to Argentina and defeating Slovenia.

Russia participated at the EuroBasket 2011, winning 10 of 11 matches. They failed to reach the final after losing to France. In the bronze medal game, Russia in a tight game subdued Macedonia. Kirilenko was named to the All-Tournament Team.[10]

Notwithstanding their third place, Russia did not directly qualify for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, but qualified instead through the qualifying tournament in Venezuela in early July 2012, where they did not lose a single match.

At the 2012 Olympics, Russia took the top position in their preliminary phase group, losing only to Australia before advancing. In the quarterfinals Russia defeated Lithuania, but then lost to Spain, 59–67. In the third-place match, Russia defeated Argentina, the Olympic champions of 2004, 81–77. Kirilenko became member of the All-Olympics Team according to ESPN. He was ranked third in blocks and steals, sixth in scoring and eighth in rebounding.[11]

…We created a great team. It is one of the strongest in the world, it plays on the highest level. It took a lot of time to achieve this aim, we collected many talented players. The medals won at the Olympics created a new Russian history. In the seven years of cooperation with Andrey Kirilenko and other people we won three medals. Gold in EuroBasket 2007, bronze in the last year and this Olympic bronze.[12]

— David Blatt

On 30 October 2012, Blatt decided to step down as head coach of the national team.[13]

Corruption in the RBF and decline (2012–2016)[edit]

In late December a new head coach was chosen, Bilbao Basket coach Fotis Katsikaris.[14] 19 July 2013, three days before the training for the upcoming EuroBasket 2013, he decided not to coach the national team.[15] On the next day he published an open letter in which he explained his decision. He felt that his actions were met with opposition from the administration of the Russian Basketball Federation, especially from acting president Yulia Anikeeva (the future president of the RBF who was arrested in 2016 for corruption[16][17]), and criticized the dismissal of general manager Oleg Ushakov.[18]

Katsikaris was replaced by Vasily Karasev. Losing 4 out of 5 matches in the preliminary round against Italy, Greece, Sweden and Finland (only winning against Turkey). Team Russia finished in 24th place at the EuroBasket 2013, the worst result ever for the national team. Karasev was then replaced by Evgeny Pashutin on 29 November 2013.[19]

A vast majority of its players declined participating in the EuroBasket 2015, including Timofey Mozgov, Sergey Karasev, Pavel Podkolzin, Alexey Shved, Evgeny Voronov, Artem Vikhrov, Evgeny Valiev, and Sergey Tokarev. Anton Ponkrashov and Egor Vyaltsev were initially dismissed from the national team,[20] but then returned. FIBA in the last moment allowed team Russia to participate in spite of the disqualification of the RBF.[21] Russia lost four matches in a row to Israel, Poland, Finland, and France, and so failed to qualify for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro; they finished 17th.[22] Pashutin resigned on 29 October 2015.[23]

An executive committee of the RBF on 20 January 2016 named a new head coach, Sergey Bazarevich.[24] Russia planned to prepare for the EuroBasket 2017,[25] but FIBA suspended the RBF in July 2015.[26][27] However, later their membership was restored in November 2015.[28] Their disqualification was annulled in late May 2016,[29] and in September 2016 team Russia qualified for the EuroBasket.[30]

Return to the European elite (2016–)[edit]

At the EuroBasket 2017, Russia defeated four of their five opponents Turkey, Serbia, Belgium and Great Britain in the preliminary round, losing only to Latvia before advancing. In the knockout stage Russia crushed Croatia breaking the 100 points mark, and in the quarterfinals closely defeated Greece to reach the semifinals. Serbia though proved to be too tough this time around defeating Russia 87–79 to reach the final. The bronze medal match contested between Russia and Spain was won by Spain, 93–85.[citation needed]

After the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, FIBA banned Russian teams and officials from participating in FIBA basketball and FIBA 3×3 Basketball competitions.[2]


Medals table (since 1992)[edit]

Competitive record[edit]

Results and fixtures[edit]



Current roster[edit]

Roster for the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

Russia national basketball team – 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup roster
Players Coaches
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)
  • (C) Team captain
  • Club – describes last
    club before the tournament
  • Age – describes age
    on 31 August 2019

Depth chart[edit]

Notable players[edit]

Head coach position[edit]

Past rosters[edit]


1993–2015: Reebok
2015–present: Adidas[34]


2015–present: Norilsk Nickel[34]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]