End of the road for Koponen and Huff

By John Rammas/ [email protected]

Berlin, Germany – With tears in their eyes, but a full heart and head filled with memories, 38 years old Shawn Huff and 34 years old Petteri Koponen played their last basketball game, keeping the game balls as memorabilia.

It was one more memorable moment from Eurobasket 2022 and the end of an era of transformation for Finish basketball.

“You build a culture and you get hungry if you start winning”, said Huff in the press conference after the game in Spain. “The young guys on this team don’t remember when me and Petteri played in the second division, trying to qualify just to get a chance to play for qualifying for the Eurobasket and this is a good thing because they want to win and they get hungry”. 

“There was a time in which we were just wishing to even have a chance to play in the EuroBasket and now we reached the Top 8”, said Koponen to Eurohoops trying to hold back tears explaining his decision: “My body doesn’t hold up any more, but Finnish basketball is on the rise, I am an optimist about its future”. 

The 30th pick of the 2007 NBA draft was the best player of his country before Lauri Markkanen. He never made it to the NBA but played for well-known European clubs like Virtus Bologna, Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

“You build a culture and you get hungry if you start winning”, added Huff who also played proffesionally in Greece, Italy, Germany and France when a Finnish player playing abroad was rarity. “The young guys on this team don’t remember when me and Petteri played in the second division and this is a good thing because they want to win and they get hungry”. 

Huff and Koponen really did that. Finland played in Division B in 2005 and 2007, trying to reach Division A and the main Eurobasket tournament. They made it in 2011 for the first time since 1995 and since then, they are a regular part of the tournament and the co-hosts for the Eurobasket 2025.

Reaching the quarterfinals is their biggest achievement since 1967, when they also hosted the tournament. In short, Petteri and Shawn did their duty admirably.

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