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Oregon's Tyler Dorsey acquired dual citizenship to play for Greece at U-19s

Benny Sieu / USA TODAY Sports

Oregon commit Tyler Dorsey truly battled his way into this summer's FIBA U-19 World Championship, representing the Greece national basketball squad after being cut from the American team the previous year.

Dorsey was permitted to lace up for the Hellenic Republic after getting fast-tracked for dual-citizenship on the basis that his mother holds Greek citizenship, according to Luke Winn of Sports Illustrated.

Dubbed a "game-changer" by a venerable Greek basketball columnist, the 6-foot-4 guard earned a spot on the tournament's All-Star team, averaging 15.9 points per game en route to leading his adopted country to a respectable fourth-place finish.

"We were shocked when he arrived and we were told he was Greek," Konstantinos Mitroglou, Greece's power forward and a sophomore at Wake Forest, said. "But it was good for us. He has the American attitude to his game, to be quick in transition and very athletic."

Making the transition all the more impressive was the stiff language barrier, with Dorsey not knowing Greek and the national team's head coach not speaking English.

Fortunately, his teammates and assistant coaches stepped up to assist with translations that helped the promising future Duck learn plays and pick up some colorful slang.

"I learned a couple of Greek words," Dorsey said of the experience. "Yes, which is 'ne,' and then a bad word."

The four-star recruit was cut from the American U-18 national tryout camp last year, paving the way for Oregon assistant coach Tony Stubblefield to inquire about the possibility of him representing Greece during a recruiting trip to Athens in March.

His strong performance on the country's squad won Dorsey several new supporters in the European country, with Greek fans swarming him after practices for autographs.

"These people didn't know him (before the tournament)," Dimitrios Pitsoulakis, a Greek radio reporter covering the tournament, said. "But now, they love him."

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