A Guide to the Venezuela Men’s Basketball Team

13 Aug 2023


The Venezuelan men’s basketball team, nicknamed ‘La Vinotinto de las Alturas’, is one of South America’s premier sides. Since they joined FIBA in 1938, they’ve made four appearances at the FIBA Basketball World Cup, featured at the Olympics twice and claimed three medals at the FIBA AmeriCup, including a gold!

Keen to learn more about the Venezuela men’s basketball team? Well, the Courtside 1891 team have put together this in-depth guide, produced before the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023. Read on to discover everything you need to know. 


How Did Venezuela Do At The FIBA World Cup 2023? 

​​Here are the key stats from Côte d'Ivoire's FIBA Basketball World Cup campaign: 

  • Final Standing: 30th
  • Results: Played 5 Won 0 Lost 5
  • Top Points Scorer: Garly Sojo 62 PTS (12.4 PPG)
  • Top Assist Provider: Heissler Guillent 33 AST (6.6 APG)
  • Most Efficient Player: Nestor Colmenares 15.0 EPG

Venezuela were only one of three teams at the World Cup 2023 to go home without a win. Finishing bottom in Group F behind debutants, Georgia and Cape Verde, must be seen as a disappointment for a squad that had the 2019 tournament experience on their side. They were however able to come up with the top play of the entire tournament. Jhornan Zamora's buzzer-beating half-time shot from his own three-point line against Luka Dončić's Slovenia was a moment to cherish. Check it out below in this countdown of the best FIBA World Cup 2023 plays.  

FIBA World Cup 2023 - Top 10 Plays

Team Presentation Video

Increase your knowledge about Venezuela with this handy Team Discovery Video produced before the World Cup. 

Team Presentation - Venezuela - FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 

Venezuela Basketball World Cup Qualification

The Venezuela basketball team entered the qualification process for the FIBA Basketball World Cup with the chance to earn appearances in back-to-back competitions. 

In the first qualifying phase, they were drawn in Group A, alongside Argentina, Panama and Paraguay. They topped this group above favorites Argentina, who they defeated 71-58 in an away game in Buenos Aires. 

In the second phase of qualifying, they were drawn in Group E, alongside Canada, the Dominican Republic, Argentina, Panama and the Bahamas. With the top three teams guaranteed to progress to the big show, Venezuela went 3-3, which was good enough for third. They ultimately finished ahead of Argentina (who failed to qualify as the best fourth-placed team) based on head-to-head record, so that 71-58 victory in Buenos Aires proved to be all-important! 

Best World Cup Qualifying Plays 

Throughout the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 qualifiers, coach Duro had a committed and experienced group of players to rely upon, with five players appearing in all 12 games and a sixth playing in 11 games.

This continuity has created a tight-knit group of committed players. While Néstor Colmenares delivered several highlight-worthy dunks you can watch in the video below, the blocks from Miguel Ruiz, Michael Carrera and Garly Sojo exemplify Venezuela’s defense-first style. These players will do anything to help their brothers win and will leave everything on the court for their country!

Best Plays - Venezuela - FIBA Basketball World Cup Qualifiers 2023

Current Star Players 

Coach Duro has leaned heavily on experience in his final roster, naming a full rotation of players who featured for their country in the 2019 edition of the FIBA Basketball World Cup in the squad. Michael Carrera, Pedro Chourio, Néstor Colmenares, Windi Graterol, Heissler Guillent, Miguel Ruiz, Gregory Vargas and Jhornan Zamora were all members of the Venezuela basketball team that won two First Round group games.

Also in the squad is experienced point guard David Cubillán and emerging star, Garly Sojo, 23, who played in 11 of the team's 12 games in the qualification phase.

Within the squad, Néstor Colmenares was the big name. Now aged 35, he’s been one of the most competitive players in the Venezuela team, banging with opponents on both ends for more than a decade. His performances in qualifying were central to his country's qualification for the tournament (including in the away game against Argentina when he scored 17 points and grabbed 8 rebounds) and it’s clear he hasn’t lost a step since 2019.

A vital player for his country, Colmenares has also won two FIBA South American Championships and he was also a member of the famous Venezuela side that won the 2015 AmeriCup title.

Legends of the Team 

The current crop of Venezuelan talent includes some of the country’s finest players. However, Venezuelan hoop heads will tell you that one name stands above all others in the country’s history: Richard Lugo. 

A powerful 6ft 10in center, Lugo was a rebounding machine. During his international career, he represented Venezuela at two FIBA Basketball World Cups and was the team’s leading rebounder in both. Today, he remains the only Venezuelan player with 100 points and 100 rebounds at the World Cup. 

During his distinguished international career, he also won bronze medals at the FIBA AmeriCup in 2005 and at the FIBA South American Championship in 2001 and 2004. 

Historical World Cup Performance

Although they didn’t qualify for the big show until 1990, Venezuela has since made four appearances at the FIBA Basketball World Cup

2023 will mark their second back-to-back appearance at the tournament (following 2002 and 2006). After failing to get through the first round in the first three tournaments, Venezuela finally broke through at the 2019 World Cup, when they finished 14th out of 32 teams, based on tournament classification rules. 

Previous Successes and Tournament Wins

Basketball Venezuela has made two appearances at the Olympic Games, in 1992 and 2016. Again though, the side fell short of medal contention at the Games, placing 11th and 10th. 

They have enjoyed a much greater degree of success at the regional level. Since 1988, they’ve appeared at every edition of the FIBA AmeriCup and they’ve claimed three medals: one gold, one silver and one bronze. They’ve also captured gold medals at the FIBA South American Championship and the Bolivarian Games. 

How to Watch Venezuela Men's Basketball

With Courtside 1891, worldwide fans can stream every game of FIBA international tournaments, as well as other competitions from around the world. 

As FIBA’s premium streaming partner for the World Cup, Courtside 1891 provided access to every 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup game! Watch the competition's biggest games and best moments on-demand on our FIBA Basketball World Cup page. 

The best way to make sure that you never miss a single second of the upcoming action is to download our app, which is available on the App Store and Google Play, or sign up to our website platform. Please be aware that, due to broadcasting rights and restrictions, access to some games might be restricted depending on your location. See our where-to-watch page for full details of upcoming competitions.

Looking for the latest results from the world of basketball? Head over to the Courtside 1891 Game Center. Here you’ll also find matchup times in your country as well as easy-to-access game highlights you can watch when you register with Courtside 1891.