Milwaukee Bucks: Pat Connaughton reiterates his Irish national team hopes

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - FEBRUARY 15: (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - FEBRUARY 15: (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty images) /

Speaking on Tuesday, Milwaukee Bucks wing Pat Connaughton reiterated his desire to represent the Irish national team at some point in the future.

Since the season went on hold for the Milwaukee Bucks and the rest of the NBA, Pat Connaughton has been making sure to make the most of his time.

No Bucks player has been more open and vocal during the league’s current shutdown than Connaughton, who has taken the opportunity to share his perspectives on the game, and most importantly speak about his plans and interests outside of basketball, and how critical he believes it is for players to be proactive in planning for retirement.

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The latest example of Connaughton’s impressively diverse range of recent interviews came on Tuesday, as the 27-year-old spoke via Zoom in a Facebook Q&A as part of the U.S. Embassy Dublin’s Creative Minds series.

Connaughton holds dual citizenship with the U.S. and Ireland, and has opened up about his family’s Irish roots in the past, most notably in conversation with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Lori Nickel in May 2019.

On that occasion, Connaughton alluded to a desire to play for the Irish national team, whether it be in basketball or baseball, and to play a part in promoting the sport in his ancestral home:

"“I think it would be pretty cool, whether it would be basketball or baseball, playing for a national team. Just trying to grow the sport over there a little.”"

Unsurprisingly, the topic of Connaughton representing the Irish basketball team came up again in his Tuesday Q&A, with the Massachussets native no less enthusiastic about the prospect of pulling on a green jersey at national team level too.

"“I think part of my idea as far as sports and being a pro athlete is you should always play the game like you did when you were a kid. Just because you love playing the game, you love competing. For me, I’d love to play wherever and whenever I get the opportunity. There are some things under NBA contract and under team contract that I have to abide by, but the hope is I can work with my team, my ownership, and my general management, and some day be a part of that Irish national team.Hopefully, be more than that. Hopefully not just play for them, but try to be an ambassador for basketball over in Ireland. Run camps and clinics over there, and help bring that sport and make it a little bit bigger over there, so that the Irish team can compete at the highest level and continue to grow the sport in the country.”"

Connaughton got a first taste of some form of national team basketball last summer, as he was selected to USA Basketball’s Select Team, which helped with the main squad’s preparations for the FIBA World Cup.

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Who knows, if Connaughton can get the Bucks’ blessing and make it work in terms of schedule, he may yet get to take on a starring role with the Irish national team in the years ahead.