2011 FIBA-Asia Men's Championships Micro-Preview: Group C

(image from FIBAAsia.net)

After the Jump: Team-by-Team Key Players, Points of Interest and Outlooks for Jordan, Japan, Syria, and Indonesia.

(image from FIBAAsia.net)
Player Focus: Ali Jamal Zaghab
- With the absence of veteran Ayman Idais, and old reliables (emphasis on old) Sam Dahglas, Enver Soobzokov, Islam Abbaas and Zaid Al-Khas all hitting their 30s, the onus will be on AJ Zaghab to pick up the cudgels and man the interior. He should see his minutes rise if the injury he sustained during the 2011 Jones Cup doesn't hamper him.  Duplicating his double-double outing in their Jones Cup match versus the Pinoys will increase Jordan's chances of cracking the top tier.
Point of Interest: Twilight of Success?
- After a record 3rd place finish in 2009, it seems the best of the Jordanians is behind them. With an aging core seeing what could be their last solid tour of duty together, coach Tab Baldwin will have to rely more heavily on the likes of Zaghab, Wesam Al-Sous and Zaid Abbas. If naturalized American Rasheim Wright can be consistent with his top-level play, then Jordan will have a fair shot at the Top 4.
Outlook: Top 8
- Jordan has a good chance to sweep Group C, though Japan shouldn't be taken lightly. Jordan's chances are also good against an injury-plagued Chinese five and the darkhorse Pinoys in the next round, but they need to place high to avoid the powerhouses awaiting them in the quarterfinals.

(image from FIBAAsia.net)
Player Focus: KJ Matsui
- The 6'2" wingman lit up the scoreboards at the 2011 Jones Cup, leading Japan to an upset of then undefeated Jordan and putting a scare in many of the other teams. This kid is as streaky as they come and, this early, looks to be a worthy successor to the fabled hands of legendary sniper Takehiko Orimo. Don't be surprised if he makes about 3-5 treys per game in Wuhan.
Point of Interest: Redeem Team?
- In 2009, Japan finished outside of the Top 8 for the first time in the history of the tournament, which didn't exactly make the NT the darlings of the Nippon populace. With a roster made up of veterans (the Takeuchi twins, Ryota Sakurai, Tomoo Amino et al), and promising newbies (Matsui, Takeki Shonaka, Atsuya Ota), and with only 3 of the 12 players bordering 30 years of age, Japan looks to have built for redemption, and for the long haul.
Outlook: Top 8
- It'll be tough to beat the Jordanians, but Syria and the Indons shouldn't be problems. They should also make the quarters this time around, where their speed and shooting can make anything possible.

(image from FIBAAsia.net)
Player Focus: Ioanis Deeb
- With perennial top-scorer Michael Madanly left out by new coach Goran Milijevic, other guys like Greek-Syrian Ioanis Deeb will have to step up big time. The 24-year old showed good skills in the 2011 Champions Cup and should be given more time to shine in Wuhan. 
Point of Interest: No "I" in team
- With Madanly seemingly bitten by the superstar bug, coach Milijevic chose to make a point instead of increasing their chances of making a dent in the competition. Already harboring weak odds if Madanly had played, Syria might now have to fight for the scraps. Aside from Deeb, old timer Eder Georges will take the brunt of the scoring load. 
Outlook: Top 12
- Though Madanly's absence severely weakens Syria, they should still be better than the Indonesians, if barely. They should expect to get plastered by Jordan and Japan in the first round, and then by China and the Philippines in the next phase.

(image from FIBAAsia.net)
Player Focus: Andi Poedjakesuma
- The 6'1" Indon NT veteran will return for a third tour of duty in Wuhan. He was 2nd in scoring in 2009 (7.6ppg) and 2nd in rebounding (5.2rpg) for the Indons, and they will undoubtedly look for him to continue putting up the numbers here. Don't expect him to explode, though, as he isn't exactly all-star material.
Point of Interest: Bound for the bottom?
- Though Indonesia finished 2nd behind the Philippines in the 2011 SEABA tourney and they blasted Malaysia for the silver medal, this Indonesian side might be bound for the very bottom of the standings. Unlike the Malaysians, the Indons haven't participated in any high profile league of late, and they might find themselves groping for form yet again.
Outlook: Bottom 4
- They have an outside chance of upsetting a less-than-promising Syrian squad, but even then their chances aren't favorable. The Indons will probably be relegated to the battle for, at best, 13th place.

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