World basketball map: Cuba

World basketball map: Cuba

We are recalling all foreign players that have ever played in the League, telling about foreign championships and National teams of different countries in World basketball map project. Today we are moving to Cuba.

Population: 11,2 mln
Players in the history of League: 1.
Full list of players: Howard Sant-Roos

The first and the only Cuban player in the history of VTB United League for now is Howard Sant-Roos. Forward started his professional career in 2011 in 3rd German division, 4 years later he signed with Nymburk and debuted in VTB League.

In 2015/16 season Sant-Roos was one of the Nymburk leaders. In 31 games he was averaging 11,2 points, 5,5 rebounds and 13,9 efficiency points. The Cuban forward also was fighting for Defensive Player Of the Year award.

In January 2020 Sant-Roos came back to VTB United League signing with CSKA. He only spent 2 games in the tournament (6,5 points and 3,5 rebounds).

Basketball in Cuba

League: Liga Superior de Baloncesto de Cuba (LSB)
Founded: in 1993
Number of teams: 8
League’s web-site: –

Cuban championship that is 27 years old this year have 8 teams from 8 different cities: Artemisa, Ciego-de-Avila, Camaguey, Havana, Guantanamo, Las-Tunas, Pinar-del-Rio and Santiago-de-Cuba.

The most titled club is Ciego-de-Avila (9 wins) and Capitalinos Havana (7 wins). These teams met in 2020 season Final. Ciego-de-Avila won the series – 4:0.

Some championship games are broadcasted on local television, season lasts only 2 months (the latest – since March 3 till April 29), and only Cuban players can participate in the championship.

Interesting fact

Fidel Castro – famous politician, who had supervised over Cuba since 1959 till 2008 really loved basketball.

Castro was one of the best Belen College players, he was floor general who could score himself. “To succeed in basketball your mind should be superhuman fast and think strategically” – Cuban leader said.

The politician was playing basketball till the age of 56. Last time Castro was seen with the basketball was in 1982, when he broke his toe.

Cuba National team

FIBA rank: 63
FIBA members: since 1937 
Achievements: Olympic games bronze (1972), Centrobasket champions (1995, 1997, 1999)

Cuban National team main achievement is Olympic Games 1972 Munich bronze medals. Back then Cuba confidently played in group stage (6 wins – 1 loss) and made it to the semi-final. In semi-final in a tight even fight they lost to USSR (61:67), Sergey Belov, Ivan Edeshko and Alzhan Zharmukhamedov were representing that team. In a 3rd place game Cuba National team overplayed Italy with minimal advantage (66:65).

Cuba is still the only Caribbean National team that managed to win medals on the main international tournament.

Besides, Cuba won Centrobasket 3 times (1995, 1997, 1999) and became Caribbean champion (2004).

Last time Cuban National team participated in Olympic Games was in 1980 (6th place) and on World Cup in 1994 (15th place).

Nowadays Cuba is ranked 63rd by FIBA, 13th among American National teams.

The most famous Cuban players in the history

Ruperta Herrera Tabio. Cuban National team leader in 60-s and 70-s, Olympic Games 1972 bronze medalist and 9-time Cuban National League champion. In 1999 Ruperta Herrera got the FIBA Order Of Merit, in 2015 entered FIBA Hall of fame, and in 2019 got Olympic Order, that is given for special merit in Olympism.

Andres Guibert. The First Cuban to play in NBA. In 1994 Center signed with Minnesota and spent 2 seasons there (22 games). After NBA Guibert played in Puerto-Rico, Spain, Greece and Italy.

Lazaro Borrell.  World Cup 1994 participant as Cuban National team player, in 2000 Borrell became the second Cuban to play in the NBA. Forward spent 18 games for Seattle Supersonics, in 6 games he was in a starting line-up with players that had become NBA champions and All-Stars – Gary Payton, Horace Grant and Rashard Lewis.

Al Cueto. Tulsa University graduate, 1969 NBA Draft 130th pick. Cueto became the first Cuban who was selected on Draft and played in leading American basketball League – he spent 2 seasons in ABA playing for Miami and Memphis.

Howard Sant-Roos. Eurocup champion, 2-time Czech League champion, FIBA International Cup and Czech Cup owner. In 2019 Sant-Roos became Greek League Defensive Player Of the Year and in 2020 he debuted in Euroleague as CSKA player.

Worth mentioning: Yorman Polas, William Granda, Xavier Justise.

Dmitriy Kolinov