For Chris Duarte, representing the Dominican Republic in the FIBA Basketball World Cup that will be held in Manila from 25 August to 10 September is a dream come true.
In an article by FIBA, the Sacramento Kings guard admitted that he nearly cried when he saw action for the Dominicans for the first time in the FIBA World Cup Americas Qualifiers.
With that, he is excited to make the trip to Manila together with fellow National Basketball Association standouts Al Horford and Karl-Anthony Towns where they will face the Philippines, Angola and Italy in the preliminaries in Group A.
“The day I was presented at home with the team, I almost cried,” the 26-year-old Duarte said.
“It’s something I can’t explain. Seeing the fans applauding, shouting my name, the pride of being there did not fit in my chest. It was fulfilling a childhood dream.”
Duarte was born and raised in the Dominican coastal town of Puerto Plata from a Canadian father and a Dominican mother.
He moved to New York to play his last two years of high school basketball at Redemption Christian Academy and made an impact in the Jordan Brand Classic, prompting him to be ranked as the fifth-best player in New York by 24/7 Sports.
He started his collegiate career at Northwest Florida State before transferring to Oregon and becoming the 13th overall pick by the Indiana Pacers in the 2021 NBA Annual Rookie Draft.
The Pacers, however, sent him to the Kings for two future second-round picks, joining the potent backcourt rotation that features De’Aaron Fox, Kevin Huerter, Malik Monk and Davion Mitchell.
The Dominicans will play a series of friendly matches against Puerto Rico, Latvia, Spain and Canada in the coming weeks before traveling to Manila for group stage games at the World Cup.
The Dominican Republic will open Group A play against the Philippines on 25 August before facing Italy on 27 August and Angola on 29 August.