Shabazz Napier to play for Puerto Rican national team in Olympic qualifier

Napier averaged just 3.7 points in 10 minutes per game for the Magic last season. (AP Photo)

(WTNH)–Former UConn star Shabazz Napier will play for the Puerto Rican national team this summer as it tries to qualify for the Olympics, according to the team’s associate director, Javier Torres.

Napier, who spent last season with the Orlando Magic, is expected to join the team on June 2 for its training camp, then play in the Centrobasket tournament, before heading to Serbia for the Olympic qualifying tournament in July.

Though Shabazz grew up in Roxbury, Mass., his mother is from Puerto Rico, which makes him eligible to play for the team under international rules. Napier traveled with the Puerto Rican national team in 2012 to play in the Centrobasket tournament, but couldn’t participate after hurting his foot.

Puerto Rico is looking to qualify for the Olympics for the first time since 2004, when it stunned the U.S. in pool play and ended up finishing sixth. They’ll have to knock off five other countries in the Olympic qualifier to do so.

Napier averaged just 3.7 points and 1.8 assists in 10.9 minutes per game for the Magic last season.

The Olympics will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from August 5-21.

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