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Former Arizona forward Trinity Baptiste to represent Lebanon in international competition

Stanford v Arizona Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Former Arizona forward Trinity Baptiste made a lot of changes during and after her college career. For one, she’s no longer a post, having remade herself to play wing as a professional. Now, she’s making another change.

On Monday, Baptiste announced that she will be representing Lebanon in international competition. She is originally from Tampa, Fla.

It’s a practice that has become widespread across the world. When a country is building a particular sport, it will often allow players from other countries to get citizenship and represent the new country. Whether it’s the U.S. bringing in ice dancers and distance runners or numerous other countries importing basketball, baseball, and softball players, it stretches back decades. It has only become more popular as competitors in events like the Olympics no longer even have the pretense of amateurism.

Baptiste joins a growing number of Arizona athletes born in the U.S. who represent other nations. Softball had Danielle O’Toole and Taylor McQuillin participating in the last Olympics. Former UA pitcher Michelle Floyd still competes for Venezuela. Ify Ibekwe plays basketball for Nigeria. The late Michael Wright held Turkish citizenship that helped him qualify as a local player in European basketball leagues.

Baptiste has played all over the world since helping Arizona reach the national championship game in 2021. She was drafted by the WNBA’s Indiana Fever, but she wasn’t able to stick in the ultra-competitive league.

She then went to Russia, where she radically changed her game. In order to stick in the upper division of one of the best leagues in the world at the time, Baptiste had to change her game. The undersized post had to move away from the basket. She accomplished it on her own, becoming a high scorer who was still able to rebound. She was averaging 12.2 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 1.0 assists per game in the Russian league and 17.8 PPG, 7.2 RPG, and 2.0 APG in the EWBL when Russia went to war against Ukraine. The scoring placed her third in the EWBL, but she felt that the only safe thing for her to do was to leave Russia.

“When Russia invaded Ukraine, I spoke to my agent and he told me the season might get canceled,” Baptiste said in March of 2022. “Then after that, he told me the season wasn’t gonna get canceled, but it was my decision to leave. The next day, I had a game and the embassy said that all Americans should leave...The next day, I was home.”

After fleeing Russia, Baptiste spent time in South America, playing in Paraguay. There, she accounted for 20.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.0 assists, and 1.3 steals per game for Felix Perez Cardozo Asunción in 2022.

Baptiste left the South American League when New Zealand came calling. She played for Mainland Pouakai in the GJ Gardner Homes Tauihi Basketball Aotearoa last summer. She contributed 19.1 PPG, 7.5 RPG, and 1.4 APG. She was the third-leading scorer in the league.

She spent the past season playing for FCC UAV Baschet Arad in the Romanian Liga Nationala. She was fourth in the league in scoring with 18 points per game. She added 7.5 RPG, 1.8 APG, and 1.1 SPG in league play as her team advanced to the finals of the Romanian Cup. In EuroCup play, she contributed 15.3 PPG, 6.7 RPG, and 1.5 APG for the team.

Baptiste has been posting pictures of her life in Beirut for the past week.