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55 Mitch Creek (AUS)
15/08/2018
Review
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Creek, Fall, Hiejima, Musa, Moreira, Justiz and Webster use Qualifiers to boost careers

MIES (FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Qualifiers) - It's a common theme in national team basketball. Players have often found a higher gear while playing for their countries and the performances have raised eyebrows of scouts, paving the way for jumps to big clubs.

There have been numerous instances in the past year, with a lot of players showing their potential in the World Cup Qualifiers.

Australia Mitch Creek

Adelaide 36ers Australia ➡ Brooklyn Nets USA 
The high-flying Creek has signed a one-year deal with the Brooklyn Nets, ensuring his presence at their training camp. The deal is one that the NBA club can reportedly waive at any time. How did this happen? Creek was sensational at the FIBA Asia Cup 2017 for undefeated Australia, averaging 14.7 points and coming up with nearly 2 steals a game. The 26-year-old was best known for getting ahead on fast breaks, or even getting free in the half court, and throwing down some vicious dunks. Creek then thrived in the Asian Qualifiers, helping the Boomers to a 4-0 start. He has also been worth the price of admission with the Adelaide 36ers. It has probably helped Creek get a chance in the NBA with Australia increasingly putting players in the league like Joe Ingles of Utah that have shown they belong.


France Moustapha Fall

Elan Chalon France ➡ PBC Lokomotiv-Kuban Russia 
He's big, and in the European Qualifiers he's been dominant. Now he's left Chalon for Russian side Lokomotiv. It should come as no surprise that a Russian club was interested because Fall was especially effective in France's last win in the Qualifiers, an 84-78 triumph at Russia. The Paris native had 11 points, 5 rebounds and a couple of blocks. Les Bleus claimed their sixth consecutive victory and moved closer to qualification for next year's 32-team World Cup in China. The 26-year-old Fall averaged 8.8ppg, 4rpg and 1.8bpg in the First Round. 

 

Japan Makoto Hiejima

Seahorses Mikawa Japan ➡ Brisbane Bullets Australia
Makoto Hiejima's strong performances for Japan in the Asian Qualifiers surely contributed to his opportunity in Australia's rough, tough and very good NBL. He picked the right time to be in the Japan side, in fact, for one of their biggest wins in recent memory, a 79-78 home triumph over previously unbeaten Australia on June 29. That loss was the Boomers' first since they joined the Asia region last summer. With Brisbane Bullets boss Andrej Lemanis also the coach of Australia, Hiejima had 6 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists in that game. He had led Japan with 17 points in the first meeting, too, in Adelaide, a game that saw the Far East side stay within striking distance until the fourth quarter.  

 

Cuba Javier Justiz 

San Lorenzo de Almagro Argentina ➡ Basket Zaragoza Spain
There is no doubt about it! Justiz, who has impressed with his strong body and physical play, raised his profile immeasurably in the First Round while playing for Cuba. The 25-year-old raised enough eyebrows to seal a move from Argentina's San Lorenzo de Almagra to one of the best competitions in Europe, the Spanish Liga Endesa, with El Tecnyconta Zaragoza. Justiz, a 2.10m (6ft 11in) center, averaged 12.8ppg, 12.8rpg and 1.3bpg in the First Round of the Qualifiers for Cuba. 

 

Bosnia and Herzegovina Dzanan Musa

KK Cedevita  Croatia Brooklyn Nets USA
Musa was taken with the 29th pick in this summer's NBA Draft by the Brooklyn Nets. Okay, he was already well known by scouts of leading clubs in Europe and also the NBA due to his terrific performances with the youth national team, yet what he did in the European Qualifiers was demonstrate the ability to excel against higher-level teams. In their very first game in November at home to Russia, Musa poured in 18 points and the Dragons won, 81-76. In the second window, Musa had 16 points and 5 rebounds in a thrilling come-from-behind triumph over a visiting Belgium. He followed that up with a performance that at Russia that had fans buzzing despite his team's 70-53 defeat. Musa hit 5 of 9 3-balls and finished with a game-high 26 points.

 

Angola Yanick Moreira

Parma Basket  Russia PAOK B.C. Greece
Athletic, agile, audacious - Moreira has always had the talent and swagger that makes him an intriguing player, including in his days at Southern Methodist University where he played for famous American coach Larry Brown. He shone in Angola's six African Qualifiers, helping them to a 4-2 record. Now he's going to put on the famous Greek shirt of PAOK, the Thessaloniki club that is set to play in the Basketball Champions League for a third consecutive campaign. 

 

New Zealand Tai Webster


Fraport Skyliners  Germany Galatasaray SK Turkey
Tai Webster, the younger brother of fellow Tall Black Corey, averaged 10ppg and 5.5apg in 22.5mpg for New Zealand in the first two windows of the Asian Qualifiers. He has parlayed the performances, and those with Frankfurt Skyliners in Germany, into a move to Turkish giants Galatasaray. Tai Webster, now 23, has been able to play for the senior team since the 2012 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament. Competing with the national team has been a huge plus in his career.

 

Italy Amedeo Della Valle

Pallacanestro Reggiana Italy Olimpia Milano Italy
There is a very good reason why Della Valle penned a deal with Olimpia Milano, the champions of Italy. Della Valle was arguably the best player in the first four European Qualifiers, helping Italy win in each.  The 25-year-old was the third leading scorer at 23.0ppg after four games while shooting 48.5 percent (16 of 33) from behind the arc. He had nailed 24 of 26 at the free-throw line.

 

FIBA