2011 William Jones Cup Men's Basketball Tournament Preview

(image from basketball-tpe.org)

After the jump: a team-by-team preview of the 2011 Jones Cup, along with rosters and the revised schedule.

From West Asia:
- Not surprisingly, the Iranians aren't pulling any punches here. Based on their roster, this is their bona fide Team A. Samad Nikkhah Bahrami, Hamed Haddadi, Hamed Afagh, Mehdi Kamrani and all the other NT regulars are present. If coach Matic plays Iran at full strength, then they are the sure-fire favorites here. I suspect he won't, though, aiming to preserve some of his stars for the big tourney in September, but they'll still figure for the championship.

Memphi Grizzlies center Hamed Haddadi should lord
it over the competition.
(image from FIBAAsia.net)
- Naturalized player Rasheim Wright isn't on the lineup, which might dampen Jordan's depth at the wings. They will still be strong without Wright, but it'll be a little easier for quicker teams like Taiwan, Korea or the Philippines to give them problems because of his absence. That's also one less explosive scorer to worry about for the rest of the field. Jordan will be good, but don't expect them to run away with the title.

The Jordanians' finest moment might have passed them already.
(image from FIBAAsia.net)
From the Gulf;
United Arab Emirates
- Many of the players here played in Manila during the Champions Cup a few months ago. Without an import or a naturalized player, the Emirates squad will probably fall by the wayside with only Malaysia and Japan's B-Team possible victims.

Rashed Al-Zaabi and the UAE team could be in
for a very tough time.
(image from FIBAAsia.net)
From East Asia:
South Korea
- Coach Hur Jae brought what will probably be Korea's actual team in Setember's FIBA-Asia Men's tourney. Kim Joo-Sung, Ha Seung-Jin and Oh Se-Keun will form a three-headed monster inside, while the Koreans' vaunted sniping should continue to cause headaches for opponents. They will challenge for the title here.

Oh Se-Keun (right) is a little undersized at the C spot, but he
is versatile enough to give opposing teams bumps and bruises.
(image from FIBAAsia.net)
- Curiously enough, Japan's Jones Cup entry is missing many marquee names. The Takeuchi twins, Takumi Ishizaki, Ryota Sakurai and Shinsuke Kashiwagi are some NT mainstays not joining the Taiwan tilt. This could mean that the Japan we'll see here is drastically different from the one teams will face in September. A guy to keep tabs on, however, is Jap-Am Sean Hinkley, a 6'7" forward from West Torrance HS who's currently playing for Link Tochigi Brex.

Sean Hinkley could be the hidden ace in this Japan roster.
(image from beRecruited.com)
Former Phoenix Sun Yuta Tabuse should be a diminutive thorn
in other teams' plans.
(image by Ronald MArtinez/Getty Images)
- The home squad seems to be gearing up to hijack their more ballyhooed neighbors in this tournament. The Taiwanese have always been competitive at home, and this lineup, even if star forward Tien Lei won't suit up, should still be promising. Wingman wonderboy Lin Chih-Chieh and former Sacramento King hopeful Chen Hsin-An are present, and will be complemented by Chinese Basketball Association imports Tseng Wen-Ting and Wu Tai-Hao. Tai-Am Douglas Creighton is another guy to watch out for.

Taiwanese-American Doug Creighton could be
a sleeper-star for Chinese-Taipei.
(image from Madonna.edu)
From Southeast Asia:
- With the same core of the Westport KL Dragons, sans their 2 imports, this Malaysian five will find tough times in the Jones Cup, which they're using to prep for the upcoming Jakarta SEA Games. The same names that did damage in Manila will lead this Malay 5 -- Shee Fai Loh, Guga Batumalai and Li Wei Chee. Expect them to finish dead last.

Shee Fai Loh will sail rough seas in Taiwan.
(image from malaysiabasketball.com)
Philippines (Smart-Gilas)
- Coach Rajko Toroman and skipper Chris Tiu have high hopes for the 2011 Jones Cup. The team is intact and relatively healthy, plus they'll also enjoy the services of PBA reinforcements Asi Taulava and Dondon Hontiveros. With naturalized player Marcus Douthit continuing to get comfortable in Toroman's system, Gilas is a strong title contender.

Marcus Douthit is the gigantic anchor that steadies
the hopes of the Pinoys.
(image from Flickr.com)
My Prediction:
Champs: Iran
2nd: South Korea
3rd: Philippines/Smart-Gilas
4th: Jordan
5th: Taiwan
6th: Japan
7th: UAE
8th: Malaysia

FINAL Schedule (after South Africa's withdrawal): 
Aug. 6
13:00 Jordan-UAE
15:00 Korea-Malaysia
17:00 Philippines-Iran
19:00 Opening ceremony
19:30 Taiwan-Japan

Aug. 7
13:00 Malaysia-Jordan
15:00 UAE-Korea
17:00 Japan-Iran
19:00 Philippines-Taiwan

Aug. 8
13:00 UAE-Japan
15:00 Jordan-Philippines
17:00 Korea-Iran
19:00 Taiwan-Malaysia

Aug. 9
13:00 Iran-UAE
15:00 Malaysia-Philippines
17:00 Japan-Korea
19:00 Jordan-Taiwan

Aug. 10
13:00 Iran-Malaysia
15:00 Jordan-Japan
17:00 Philippines-Korea
19:00 Taiwan-UAE

Aug. 11
13:00 Japan-Malaysia
15:00 UAE-Philippines
17:00 Korea-Jordan
19:00 Taiwan-Iran

Aug. 12
13:00 UAE-Malaysia
15:00 Iran-Jordan
17:00 Japan-Philippines
19:00 Taiwan-Korea

Aug. 13
15:00 #7 vs. #6
17:00 #4 vs. #1 (Semifinals)
19:00 #2 vs. #3 (Semifinals)

Aug. 14
15:00 #7/#6 winner vs. #5
17:00 Third-place game
19:00 Championship game

Venue: Sinjhuang (or Hsinchuang) Stadium, New Taipei City
(image from TaiwanHoops.wordpress.com)
(image from TaiwanHoops.com)

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1 Comment

great prediction. almost nailed it. smart-gilas took iran by surprise in the 1st game but haddadi was a dominant force - even scored on three pointers and coast-to-coast fastbreak (getting the offensive rebound) during the finals; just unstoppable.