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"I am honestly very excited for the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Qualifiers, I wish it starts tomorrow" - Lebanon's Aziz Abdel Massih

Beirut (Lebanon) - The Lebanese national team is lined up with recognizable stars from Wael Arakji, Amir Saoud, and Jean Abdel Nour to Bassel Bawji. It would be easy to overlook a couple of names down the roster. Such was the case Aziz Abdel Massih who got called up to the senior men’s national team for the first time in the final window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

If you didn’t know about Abdel Massih then, you might want to start paying attention now for the forward on the rise.

In the two games Abdel Massih was called up for, he didn’t get to see a single minute on the court. The 22-year-old was not discouraged, acknowledging that the opportunity to be there along was evidence of the hard work he had done.

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Time to REPRESENT 🙏🏾🇱🇧 #GodIsGreat #YallaLebnen #RoadToChina #WorldCupQualifiers

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"I felt like the call up to represent the national team was the reward for the patience and all the hours that I put in during the off season and the season to improve my game as a whole," Abdel Massih says. "Especially physically with Miami Fitness Factory (Amir Eid) and basketball wise with Coach Jad Fattouh and, lately, Coach Yves Kara."

Abdel Massih firmly planted himself on the radar with a productive season for the Lebanese club Sagesse. In just his 3rd season playing professionally, Abdel Massih is already averaging 12.1 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 2.6 assists as a leading force for Sagesse. His performance in league play is a part of why he has been called up to the national team and why he might be called upon once again further down the road.

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Ball and a dream

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"When I got called to the team, the coaching staff’s vision towards my role was specifically a defensive one since they told me I can add size, bring in a lot of energy to the team, and most importantly, space the floor which is essential to the players because it will make everyone more comfortable on court to do their own thing," says Abdel Massih.

The next challenge for Lebanon - and potentially for Abdel Massih - is the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Qualifiers later this year. That leaves plenty of time for Lebanon to prepare their team. More importantly, it means more time for the 1.93M (6’4”) guard to further hone his craft so that when the national team comes calling again, he’ll be able to make his mark.

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Enjoying Bahrain with the National Team #TrustingTheProcess 👊🏾💯

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"I am honestly very excited for the [FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Qualifiers], I wish it starts tomorrow. The two teams that I am looking forward to play against are New Zealand and Korea," Abdel Massih eagerly expresses.

As one of the most basketball-crazed nations in the world, Lebanon are rarely in shortage of high-level talents to fill up their squads. Aziz Abdel Massih is just the next in line to potentially make a name for himself with the Tall Cedars. It’s only a matter of time.