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March Madness: Which NCAA players could make an appearance at the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Qualifiers?

ASIA - The talent pool of national teams usually consists of the best players thriving in the local scene. However, some players are so exceptional that they have the opportunity to develop their skills overseas. It is especially exciting when a younger player gets a chance to play in one of the largest stage for young talents like the the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in the United States of America.

Since it’s March and with “March Madness” here, let’s check some of the NCAA talents that could potentially help out their respective national teams when the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers start later this year!

Stats are updated as of March 10, 2019.

Rui Hachimura (Japan)

Current Team: Gonzaga Bulldogs

Season Stats: 31 games, 20.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, 46.7 percent three-point shooting

We start off with one of the more obvious prospects in Rui Hachimura. The native of Sendai has already starred at the U17 and U19 World Cup for Japan, not to mention his 4 outstanding games with the senior national team at the Asian Qualifiers.

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Last night was special!!😤🔥

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In the NCAA, this is Hachimura’s biggest year yet with the highly-ranked Gonzaga bulldogs. The 2.03M (6’8”) junior has improved virtually every aspect of his game over the past three seasons and is now a semifinalist for the prestigious Naismith trophy.

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Naismith Trophy semifinalists 👀. Who is your pick for Player of the Year?

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Hachimura barely missed out winning an NCAA title in 2017 but he and Gonzaga seem to be in good shape for another shot this year. Whatever will happen after this season for Hachimura is still up in the air - first round NBA draft pick? - but Japan basketball fans are hoping for more appearances from Hachimura with the national team whether it is at the World Cup or at the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers. 

Kai Toews (Japan)

Current Team: UNC Wilmington Seahawks

Season Stats: 32 games, 8.8 points, 7.8 assists, 2.6 rebounds

Hachimura has been the center of attention of Japan hoops in the NCAA (and rightfully so), but Kai Toews is another talent that fans might want to keep an eye on.

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Been Doubted

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The guard from Chiba is playing in only his first year for the Seahawks, but he is already a key starter playing 30.6 minutes per game. More impressively, Toews is currently 2nd among all NCAA division 1 players in assists with an average of 7.8 dimes per game. The 1.88M (6’2”) passing wizard has already represented Japan in the senior level at the William Jones Cup and averaged a solid 6.2 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 3.3 assists in the competition.

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Hand down...😪

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The Japan national team already has a strong guard rotation and 20-year-old Kai could be a nice addition to that talent pool. 

Remy Martin (Philippines)

Current Team: Arizona State Sundevils

Season Stats: 28 games, 13.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 1.3 steals

The PAC-12 Sixth Man of the Year has been vocal about a chance at representing the Philippines at some point down the road in the future and that chance might come soon at his current level of production.

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Martin had already had a spectacular season off the bench in his freshman year and is now even better as a starter for the Sundevils who are 2nd place in the PAC-12 conference with a 20-9 record. The 1.83M (6’0”) guard is quick on his feet and with hands, making him a threat on both sides of the court at all times. The Philippines have a long list of guards to call upon already, but don’t be surprised if Martin gets a shot at his debut sometime during the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.


AJ Edu (Philippines)

Current Team: Toledo Rockets

Season Stats: 31 games, 3.7 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.7 blocks

Philippines U18 national team star AJ Edu might not possess the same scoring firepower as fellow countryman Remy Martin, but has found a way to impact his team in just his freshman year. Edu was a terrorizing force on defense for the Philippines national team at the FIBA U18 Asian Championship and he’s doing the same in the NCAA.

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“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord..” Colossians 3:23

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The 2.08M (6’10”) pivot man averages 1.8 blocks in just 13.9 minutes per game for a defensive-minded Toledo team. His 55 blocks this season rank 55th in the entire nation. Not bad for a freshman. Edu might get another chance to represent the Philippines at the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup this summer. Maybe after that he could make a senior national team debut at the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers?


Wang Quanze (China)

Current Team: Pennsylvania Quakers

Season Stats: 26 games, 8.5 points, 3.6 rebounds

Another player who starred at the U18 Asian Championship who is now strutting his stuff in the NCAA is China’s Wang Quanze or also known as Michael Wang. It’s rare for an overseas-based player to be featured on China’s youth team, but Wang was able to succeed in starring for the bronze medalists of the FIBA U18 Asian Championship nonetheless.

Wang is the 4th leading scorer for a well-rounded Pennsylvania Quakers who are currently 18-11 this season. He is clearly a big part of the Quakers’ future and already a big part of China’s national team program as well. It might be possible to integrate him into the system early by calling him up sometime during the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.

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Justin Bassey (Thailand)

Current Team: Harvard Crimson

Season Stats: 23 games, 9.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 35.6 three-point shooting percentage

Thailand’s Justin Bassey plays in the same conference as the aforementioned Wang for league-leaders Harvard who are 16-10 in the season.

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Been runnin' on the road

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Bassey was an explosive scorer for Thailand at the FIBA U18 Asian Championship in 2016, but he’s taken up a different role at Harvard as their ultimate Swiss army knife. At most times, Bassey is the Crimsons’ go-to defender and also leads the team in rebounds as well. The 1.98M (6’5”) wingman is a regular starter for Harvard and it would be a huge boost for Thailand if they can get the junior to play for them at the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.


Kuo-Hao Kao (Chinese-Taipei)

Current Team: Southeast Missouri State Redbirds

Season Stats: 20 games, 3.3 points, 1.1 assists

Kuo-Hao Kao (or Oscar Kao) has had an inspiring run from little-known prospect from a small town in Taiwan to starring at the FIBA U18 Asian Championship in 2016 before landing with the Redbirds.

The speedy guard has gradually earned his minutes for a struggling Southeast Missouri State, including a string of impressive performances in February. Chinese-Taipei are in need of an injection of youth to their rotation for the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers and Kao would be one of the top youngsters on that squad without a doubt. 

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最愛的號碼❤️No.4 #basketball #ncaa #underarmour #4

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Joseph Chartouny (Lebanon)

Current Team: Marquette Golden Eagles

Season Stats: 31 games, 3.2 points, 2.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists

Chartouny is one of the elder veteran players on this list, already with 4 years of NCAA experience with both Fordham and Marquette. The 24-year-old has also already made his senior team debut both at the FIBA Asia Cup 2017 and played in the third window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

The 1.92M (6’4”) point guard has taken a smaller role by transferring to Marquette this year after a stellar three years at Fordham. Chartouny, who won the A10 Rookie of the Year award in 2016, started all but one game during his stay at Fordham and is a key contributor off the bench for 23-8 Golden Eagles this year.

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Everyone wish @grandjoueur12 happy birthday!!! We love you Joseph!!!

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Chartouny will need to prove himself a bit more for a larger role with the national team and it’s possible he might get those chances during the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers. 

Jonathan Galloway (Guam)

Current Team: UC Irvine Anteaters

Season Stats: 32 games, 7.0 points, 8.4 rebounds, 1.1 blocks

Guam made a splash going undefeated during the FIBA Asia Cup East Region Pre-Qualifiers and they might have some more reinforcements on the way in Jonathan Galloway.

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The 22-year-old big man has been one of UC Irvine’s most important players ever since his freshman year and will graduate this season as one of the school’s all-time greats. Galloway was already named as the Big West Defensive Player of the Year for a second straight season and has already secured the school’s all-time rebounding record. He’s a big part of why UC Irvine are the best team in the conference this year.


Guam’s front court of Tai Wesley, Curtis Washington, and Earnest Ross was already a strong trio and if they can add 2.08M (6’10”) Galloway in for the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers - watch out.

Callum McRae (New Zealand)

Current Team: UC Riverside Highlanders

Season Stats: 31 games, 7.6 points, 4.7 rebounds

Another big man in the Big West that fans might get to see at the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers is Callum McRae of UC Riverside. The New Zealander is playing in his first year in the NCAA and is doing a pretty good job despite the disappointing 10-22 season by the Highlanders. The 2.16M (7’1”) McRae has already moved up to be the team’s starting center.


New Zealand has other young big men in the NCAA (Tai Wynyard, Sam Timmins), but McRae could be the next in line to make a debut for the Tall Blacks at the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers. 

These next two prospects are not in the NCAA Division 1 (or at least not yet), but are intriguing players for their respective national team pools nonetheless.

Josh Green (Australia)

Future Team: Arizona Wildcats

Green could be the next best thing from down under and he hasn’t even graduated from high school yet. The Sydney native is currently pegged as one of the best players in the entire United States of America already.


The defending FIBA Asia Cup champions most likely will not need Green to get through the upcoming FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers, but it would be fun to see the youngster in the Green and Gold there.

Hashem Abbas (Jordan)

Current Team: Bridgeport Purple Knights (NCAA Division 2)

Season Stats: 30 games, 11.1 points, 5.7 rebounds

Being the little brother of a national team legend, Zaid Abbas, will lead to high expectations and Hashem is doing his best in hope for a senior national team debut soon.

He is a major contributor for NCAA Division 2 school Bridgeport who are one of the better teams in the East Coast Conference.

Jordan has an exciting future up ahead, especially with their second ever World Cup appearance on the way. Maybe we will get to see Hashem play alongside brother, Zaid, at the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers as well?