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Three World Cup standouts that can break out at FIBA Asia Cup 2021
BEIJING (China) - Fans watched over the years as players developed from little known youngsters before blossoming in front of their very own eyes. Here are three players who made a name for them for themselves at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 in China that are potential breakout superstars at the next FIBA Asia Cup 2021.
Ahmad Al Dwairi (JOR)
Al Dwairi was only 20 years old when he made his first-ever FIBA Asia Cup appearance back in 2013 in the Philippines. He had some flashes of potential, namely a 10-point outing against Kazakhstan, and averaged 3.1 points and 2.4 rebounds per game in his debut.
(Ahmad Al Dwairi, FIBA Asia Cup 2013)
6 years later, Al Dwairi has developed into what could soon become the best big man in Asia.
In his first FIBA Basketball World Cup game against Dominican Republic, Al Dwairi recorded a stunning 34 points and 9 boards on 14-18 shooting from the field. He finished as the team’s top performer with a 17.8 rating in efficiency to go with 16.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game.
(Ahmad Al Dwairi, FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019)
It will be fun to see how far he can continue to grow should he make another FIBA Asia Cup appearance with Jordan in 2021.
Yuta Watanabe (JPN)
Just like Al Dwairi, Watanabe also made his FIBA Asia Cup debut in 2013 as a promising 18-year-old prospect. He was rarely used up until their final game against Hong Kong where he put up 13 points and 4 rebounds.
(Yuta Watanabe, FIBA Asia Cup 2013)
The glimpses were there in 2013, but it was far from a guarantee that he could develop to become the NBA player heading into his second season as he is today. Watanabe showed fans that there was still more room for him to develop and become even better with averages of 15.6 points and 5.6 rebounds per game at the World Cup. The 24-year-old even poured in 34 points and 9 rebounds on 11-16 shooting against Montenegro.
(Yuta Watanabe, FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019)
Watanabe is already one of Japan’s leading forces heading into the future and hopefully it won’t be too long to see to see him play in the Asia Cup again.
Shea Ili (NZL)
Ili was already spectacular in his FIBA Asia Cup debut, being named as a member of the All-Star Five with averages of 15.4 points and 5.8 assists per game to lead the 4th placed Tall Blacks. It’s tough to imagine him making leaps and bounds and get even better, but that’s what might just happen.
(Shea Ili, FIBA Asia Cup 2017)
The 26-year-old was a rock solid point guard playing along the sharpshooting Corey Webster, putting up a sturdy 10.4 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 5.0 assists per game.
(Shea Ili, FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019)
New Zealand will be looking to go further than their first time around playing in the FIBA Asia Cup and Ili could once again be the main catalyst to get them there.