Top 25: FIBA Asia Players (from 2007 to 2015) Part 2

 

 

So this is the second part.

 

You can read the first installment when you click THIS LINK.

 

Here are the rest of the best.

 

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Number 13

Kim Joo Sung

Korea

 

35 games – 10.37ppg – 5.00rpg – 2.26apg – 0.80bpg

 

Kim Joo Sung is part of the 2002 Busan Asiad squad that sent Olsen Racela and the rest of our crew in tears. His Asian Games medal count is two golds and two silvers and his FIBA Asia haul is at three bronzes. The big man has a knack for passing, he has the ability to protect the rim, and he has a decent midrange game. He’s certainly a legend of Asian basketball but he’s Korean so…

 

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Number 12

Quincy Davis

Chinese Taipei

14 games – 13.93ppg – 9.07rpg – 1.57bpg

 

It’s hard to represent another country as your de facto homeland. However, it’s twice the trouble if you’re representing Chinese Taipei since most nations recognize the One China policy. So it’s easy to commend Quincy Davis. Teaming up with pony-tailed brusier Tseng Wen-Ting, Chinese Taipei gave top teams a bit of scare.

 

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Number 11

Anton Ponomarev

Kazakhstan

33 games – 12.55ppg – 8.45rpg – 1.00apg – 0.85spg

 

With an average rank of eighth, Kazakhstan isn’t really regarded as an Asian threat. But they have one big time player in Anton Ponomarev. The then-18 year old made his FIBA Asia debut in 2007 en route to a fourth place finish and has since been an integral part of their national team.

 

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Number 10

Zaid Abbas

Jordan

34 games – 11.59ppg – 7.06rpg – 1.03apg – 1.38spg

 

The name Zaid Abbas should ring a bell for a lot of peeps. The guy is a monster on the inside (he is also a hothead and even had some brushes our team). Abbas would flex his muscles especially through rebounds. In 2009, Jordan placed third in the event… sending the squad to the FIBA World Championship.

 

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Number 9

Jayson Castro

Philippines

18 games – 14.22ppg – 3.28rpg – 2.78apg – 0.89spg

 

We know this TNT quarterback as The Blur but the rest of the continent believes he’s the best point guard of the region. A winner in every league he stepped on, Jayson Castro has yet to miss a FIBA Asia finals match since debuting as Jimmy Alapag’s heir apparent in 2013.

 

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Number 8

Wang Zhizhi

China

 

26 games – 13.92ppg – 6.12rpg – 1.27apg – 0.77spg

 

Wang Zhizhi is the first Chinese player to play in the NBA and alongside Naismith Hall of Famer Yao Ming and former NBA player Mengke Bateer, formed China’s impenetrable Great Wall. Wang owns two FIBA Asia gold medals. The former Bayi Rocket won his first at Fukuoka in 1999 and won another in Wuhan twelve years later.

 

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Number 7

Mahdi Kamrani

Iran

44 games – 9.91ppg – 2.95rpg – 3.80apg – 1.89spg

 

Mahdi Kamrani showered Hamed Haddadi with passes and overwhelmed point guards with his awesomeness. The guy is like the real life version of Slam Dunk’s Maki. One-third of Iran’s Triple Threat, he pretty much orchestrated Iran’s rise to prominence – capturing gold medals in the process.

 

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Number 6

Samad Nikkhah Bahrami

Iran

 

44 games – 13.98ppg – 4.00rpg – 2.70apg – 0.98spg

 

From 2007 to 2015, Nikkhah Bahrami has been lighting it up for Iran. It feels like he game is powered by his late bro Aidin because fronting him is like facing two men. I think of him as the Asian equivalent of Grant Hill. Bahrami alongside Haddadi and Kamrani have three gold medals in the event since 2007.

 

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Number 5

Rasheim Wright

Jordan

26 games – 19.38ppg – 3.62rpg – 2.00apg – 1.62spg

 

Jordan reached basketball heaven with the acquisition of naturalized player Rasheim Wright. He is flashy and has the ability to make his teammates awesome. The former Philippine Patriots import took Jordan to a bronze in 2009 Tianjin and a silver finish in 2011 Wuhan.

 

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Number 4

Fadi El-Khatib

Lebanon

 

17 games – 19.94ppg – 5.35rpg – 2.47apg – 1.18spg

 

Fadi El-Khatib is the Michael Jordan of his country and one of the more recognizable basketball figures in Asia during his prime. Throughout his career, The Tiger established a reputation as a big time scoring machine. He combines strength with versatility. Lebanon reached the peak of its international campaign under his watch and even if the team had the likes of Joe Vogel, Matt Freije, and the late Jackson Vroman, they still look for Fadi and his heroics.

 

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Number 3

Marcus Douthit

Philippines

 

17 games – 17.18ppg – 10.88rpg – 1.47apg – 1.82bpg

 

Maybe we should have kept Kuya Marcus Douthit in our speed dial… in case shit happens. The beloved naturalized player is not our first choice (CJ Giles would then play for Bahrain) but he was determined to make a statement. His 2011 numbers speak for itself as he perfectly filled the country’s lack of presence in the middle. With the events leading to the 2017 FIBA Asia Championship, I really wish we had Kuya Marcus on our speed dial.

 

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Number 2

Yi Jianlian

China

 

32 games – 17.22ppg – 9.47rpg – 1.72apg – 0.72spg – 1.50bpg

 

During the peak of the Chinese Great Wall, China began to groom an heir apparent. That guy is Yi Jianlian – the sixth pick of the 2007 NBA Draft. The guy is a center that moves around like a slasher! With Yi in the paint and with Sun Yue and Liu Wei giving him excellent assistance, China managed to snag gold medal over gold medal. China championed the 2005, 2011, and 2015 editions of the FIBA Asia Championship as well as a silver medal in 2009 Tianjin. Yi was also named Tournament MVP in 2011 and 2015.

 

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Number 1

Hamed Haddadi

Iran

43 games – 15.09ppg – 10.47rpg – 1.86apg – 2.23bpg

 

Hamed Haddadi development paved the way for Iran to claim Asian powerhouse status in basketball. When the 7’2 juggernaut came to the fray, Iran transformed into a contender and soon after China lost its top dog status. The former Memphis Grizzly and Phoenix Sun exploited his massive size and frame to bully his way to the rim. Perhaps his ascent prompted the Philippines – as well as a host of other nations to embrace the reality of naturalizing players to stop Haddadi. Haddadi is a three-time FIBA Asia MVP and he won these accolades when he helped Iran win the 2007, 2009, and 2013 editions.

 

 

Of the 25 names listed in this article, there are some that would still campaign for their country even if this is the first FIBA Asia Championship that will not serve as qualifier for both the FIBA World Cup and the Olympics.

 

Fadi El-Khatib has announced his return to the Lebanese National Team. The 38-year-old is expected to provide leadership and perhaps to continue as a revered offensive weapon. This is also a fitting end for a legend to retire from active international play in a grand stage and in front of his home crowd.

 

Duncan Reid is expected to power the Hong Kong stand again. Ditto for Kazakhstan’s Anton Ponomarev. Syria will have former TNT Asian import Michael Madanly. Qatar and Iraq are expected to make their presence felt (especially with their naturalized players).

 

Hamed Haddadi’s status is gametime decision but with the departures of Nikkhah Bahrami, Mahdi Kamrani, and Hamed Afagh, it’s hard for Iran to solely depend on Arsalan Kazemi, Asghar Kardoust and Oshin Sahakian. Guo Ailun is expected to command the Chinese troops with Yi Jianlian and Zhou Qi out. For the second straight tourney, Japan will not have the complete Takeuchi arsenal with Joji Takeuchi M.I.A.. Former San Miguel Asian import Mahmoud Abdeen needs to unleash his inner Sam Daghles as the latter has moved on to coaching duties. Korea will parade a younger roster. Quincy Davis’ back injury forced him to miss the Beirut trip.

 

Even Gilas Pilipinas has its own problems with Andray Blatche unavailable and June Mar Fajardo injured.

 

The absence of the stars could give teams like India – bannered by scoring demons Amjyot Singh Gill and Vishesh Bhriguvanshi – a better finish.

 

It could also give first-time participants Australia and New Zealand a chance to invade the continent and return to theirs with the title.

 

Do you agree with this list? Sound off your comments below!

 

 

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