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Many Asian stars' legacies started at U16 Asia
13/03/2018
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Many Asian stars' legacies started at U16 Asia


BEIRUT (FIBA U16 Asian Championship) - Despite only having four previous editions, the FIBA U16 Asian Championship has already seen storied history as many of Asia’s top superstars have left their mark on the game since shining in the competition. 

Here is a run down of some of the top players who wowed fans at the FIBA U16 Asian spectacle and gone on to help their senior national team - including at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Asian Qualifiers. 

Guo Ailun - China

Guo was second in scoring at the FIBA U16 Asian Championship in 2009 at 20.7 points in leading China to the title in the first event. The guard also played at the youth ranks at the FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup 2010 and the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup 2011. 

He quickly made in-roads to the senior national team, playing at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2010 and then both the 2012 and 2016 Men’s Olympic Basketball Tournaments. He has become a pillar of the senior team and has also played at three FIBA Asia Cups. Through two windows of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Asian Qualifiers, Guo had played two games and averaged 9.5 points, 5.5 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 1.0 steals.

Sajjad Mashayekhi - Iran (@sjdmashayekhi)

Mashayekhi helped Iran finish third at the FIBA U16 Asian Championship 2009, averaging 6.4 points. The point guard also represented Iran at the youth world stage, playing at the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup 2013. 

He then played at the 2015 FIBA Asia Cup and in 2017 played his second continental tournament, playing at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament 2016 as well. At the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Asian Qualifiers, he averaged 10.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 2.3 assists through four games in the first two windows. 

Lee Jonghyun - Korea (@mob_jonghyn)

Lee was one of the leaders of a Korean team that reached the final of the FIBA U16 Asian Championship 2009. He averaged 11.8 points while losing to China in the title game. The big man also played internationally at the youth level, appearing at the FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup 2010. 

He debuted with the senior national team at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament 2012. Lee has also played at three FIBA Asia Cups - 2013, 2015 and 2017 - as well as the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2014. In the China 2019 Asian Qualifiers, Lee averaged 5.5 points, 2.0 assists, 1.0 rebounds and 1.0 steals in two games through the first two windows.

Kiefer Isaac Ravena - Philipppines (@kieferravena15)

Ravena was one of the top players at the FIBA U16 Asian Championship 2009, leading Philippines in scoring at 17.6 points as the country reached the Semi-Finals. 

Ravena has been on the fringes of the senior national team and finally made his debut at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Asian Qualifiers. He averaged 7.3 points, 3.3 assists and 2.0 rebounds through four games in the first two windows.

Qi Zhou - China (@officialzhouqi)

Qi started his national team career at the FIBA U16 Asian Championship 2011, where he averaged 17.6 points a game - second-best in the tournament - for the title-winning Chinese. The center also played at the FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup 2012, FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup 2013 and FIBA U18 Asia Championship 2014. 

Qi made his start with the senior team at the 2015 FIBA Asia Cup. He also played for China at the Men’s Olympic Tournament 2016. The Houston Rockets player has not played at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Asian Qualifiers through the first two windows. 

Satnam Singh Bhamara - Iran (@hellosatnam)

Singh appeared at two FIBA U16 Asian Championships - 2009 and 2011. In the 2011 edition, the big man led the tournament in scoring with 19.6 points. 

Singh made his senior national team premiere in 2011 at the FIBA Asia Cup 2011. He also played at the 2013 and 2017 Asia Cups. And through the first two windows of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Asian Qualifiers, Singh is averaging 13.8 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists in four games.

Yudai Baba - Japan (@babaseyo)

Baba made his first appearance for the Japan national team at the FIBA U16 Asian Championship 2011, where he averaged 16.0 points. 

Baba then debuted with the senior national team at the FIBA Asia Cup 2017. And in two games through the first two windows of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Asian Qualifiers, Baba is averaging 8.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 1.0 assists.

Hu Jinqiu - China

Hu exploded on the youth scene at the FIBA U16 Asian Championship 2011, where he averaged 20.6 points and 12.9 rebounds. The big man also left his mark on the international youth game, starring at the FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup 2014 and the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup 2015. 

He debuted at the senior national team for China at the FIBA Asia Cup 2017. And then he appeared in two games through the first two windows of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Asian Qualifiers, averaging 4.0 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.0 steals in just 9.5 minutes per game.

Rui Hachimura - Japan (@ruihachimura)

Hachimura showed right away that he is the future of Japanese basketball at the FIBA U16 Asian Championship 2013, averaging 22.8 points and 12.6 rebounds. The next summer, he was the leading scorer of the FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup 2014. 

Hachimura moved to the United States to play for Gonzaga in the collegiate ranks and returned to the national team game at the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup 2017 and averaged 20.6 points. He has yet to play with the Japanese senior national team. 

Yang Jae Min - Korea (@jamm_yang)

Yang played at two FIBA U16 Asian Championships in 2013 and 2015, starring in 2015 as he averaged 16.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.7 assists. The wing showed his talent on the world stage the next summer, averaging 14.3 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists at the FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup 2016. 

Yang that summer also played at the FIBA U18 Asian Championship 2016, getting Korea qualified for the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup 2017, where he averaged 8.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.6 assists. He has yet to play for the Korean senior national team.

Yudai Nishida - Japan

Nishida starred for Japan at the FIBA U16 Asian Championship 2015 as he collected 18.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists. The guard then was the leader of the team at the FIBA U18 Asian Championship 2016 with 17.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists.

That helped gain Japan a spot at the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup 2017, where Nishida averaged 10.3 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists. He has yet to make his debut with the senior national team.

Karim Zeinoun - Lebanon (@karimzeinoun7)

Zeinoun is one of the next stars of Lebanese basketball as he showed at the FIBA U16 Asian Championship 2015. He was fourth in the tournament in scoring with 22.2 points and was second in rebounds at 11.0 per game while also chipping in 4.4 assists. He then showed he can play at the next higher level as he picked up 9.6 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.5 assists at the FIBA U18 Asian Championship 2016. Zeinoun has not yet played for the Lebanon senior national team. 

Baladhaneshwar Poiyamozhi - India

Poiyamozhi showed he is scoring force at the FIBA U16 Asian Championship 2015, averaging a tournament-best 24.8 points. He also collected 6.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists. The next summer, he was fifth in scoring at the FIBA U18 Asian Championship 2016 at 17.1 points per game while also picking up 4.0 assists and 3.1 rebounds. 

Poiyamozhi had not yet turned 18 years when he debuted with the Indian senior national team at the FIBA Asia Cup 2017, where he picked up 4.7 points, 3.0 assists and 1.0 rebounds a game.

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