This weekend, the opening games of the William Jones Cup 2015 in Taiwan will start, and we’ll have our first look at some of the teams competing in the Changsha joust. The Asian teams participating Chinese Taipei (two teams), South Korea, Iran, Japan, and the Philippines. Completing the cast for the nine day tournament are a US Selection, the Wellington Saints of New Zealand’s premiere basketball league, and pro-team Spartak Primorye which plays in the Russian PBL.
But enough of the Jones Cup: let’s point the crosshairs at some of the players to watch out for in the FIBA Asia, specifically those in groups C and D. This is in continuation of last week’s entry:
South Korea – Moon Taeyoung
Brother of Moon Taejong, AKA Jarod Stevenson, Moon Taeyoung will be South Korea’s naturalized reinforcement in Changsha, and judging from his performance in the recent season of the KBL, he’ll be as lethal as his brother. In 50 games, he averaged 16.9 points, six rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. With this development, the 2014 Asian Games gold medalists are surely going all out in gunning for a spot in Rio.
Notable mentions: Ha Seungjin, Cho Sungmin, Kim Jongkyu
Jordan – Sam Daghles
Though his presence in Rajko’s Toroman’s team is still up in the air, this ageing court general will give Jordan a much-needed boost, considering its recent string of disappointing performances. Daghles was instrumental in Jordan’s bronze-medal finish in 2009, World Championships stint in 2010, and 2011 runner-up finish in 2011, losing a berth to the 2012 Olympics by a single point to China.
Notable mentions: Zaid Abbas (still unsure), Mousa Alawadi, Ali Jamal Zaghab
China – Yi Jianlian
After an embarrassing campaign in 2013, the Chinese, led by former NBA player Yi Jianlian, are raring to win it all. The former Milwaukee Buck and Washington Wizard is definitely the leading power forward in the competition, and led the Guangdong Southern Tigers to a semifinal finish in the Chinese Basketball Association. He averaged a monstrous 27 points and 10 rebounds a game.
Notable mentions: Wang Zhelin, Zhou Qi, Guo Ailun
Singapore – Delvin Goh
Unfortunately for Singapore, they are expected to be blasted out of the competition in the first round unless if they manage to upset any of their group C rivals. Standing at 6’7, Goh is Singapore premiere big man after Pathman Matialakan. Though raw and young, he’s represented the island-state several times, notably in the South East Asian Championships, SEA Games, and the 2014 FIBA Asia Cup. Let’s see if Singapore’s “wonder kid” can hold his own against stiff competition.
Notable mentions: Desmond Oh, Wei Long Wong, Wu Qingde
Chinese Taipei – Quincy Davis
Though the Taiwanese have a loaded roster with Asia’s best shooting guard, Lin Chih-Chieh, and veterans Wu Tai Hao and Tien Lei, the biggest name on their roster is naturalized big man Quincy Davis. He was instrumental in Taiwan’s 4th place finish in the 2013 championships, averaging 14.7 points a game. With him in tow, the Formosans are looking to win their first ever gold medal in the continental championships.
Notable mentions: Lin Chih-Chieh, Tien Lei, Tseng Weng-Ting
Lebanon – Fadi El-Khatib
Do we need to say who Fadi El-Khatib, Asia’s 2nd best basketball player (next to Yao Ming) in recent memory is? Although he’s in his mid-30s, El-Khatib, “The Tiger” as he is known in Lebanon, the multi-titled 6’7 forward is known for his scoring prowess and has been named multiple times to the FIBA Asia All-Tournament team. He’s also won three silver medals with the Cedars, in 2001, 2005, and 2007. Will his last campaign be highlighted by stint in the Olympics? We’ll see!
Notable mentions: Ali Mahmoud, Jasmon Youngblood (naturalized player), Jean Abdel-Nour
Kazakhstan – Anatoly Kolesnikov
Despite being considered numerous times as tournament dark horses, the Kazaks have never broken the top three barrier. Their best finish was 4th in 2007. They will be led by Anatoly Kolesnikov, their team’s top scorer in the 2014 Asian games. Averaging 13.9 points and eight rebounds again, Kolesnikov will definitely make waves in Changsha, and thanks to his 6’7 frame, he’ll be a headache to defend.
Notable mentions: Anton Ponomarev, Jerry Johnson (naturalized player), Dmitriy Gavrilov
Qatar – Khalid Suliman
It is unknown if Ismail Musa will compete in the FIBA Asia following his announced retirement from the national team in 2013, so let’s tighten the crosshairs on Khalid Suliman. This 6’6 swingman is the Gulf nation’s leading scorer in the 2014 Asian Games, averaging 15 points and four rebounds a game. He’s also competed in the 2006 World Championship, and currently plays for Al-Sadd in the Qatar Basketball League.
Notable mentions: Mousa Daoud Mousa, Erfan Ali Saeed, Baker Mohammed
There you go basketball fans. Who do you think will lead their national team to Rio?
Please tell us in the comments!