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19 February, 2024
25 February, 2025
13 Joshua Daniel Bannan (AUS)
28/02/2024
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10 promising prospects who shined in Window 1

BEIRUT (Lebanon) - Window 1 of the FIBA Asia Cup 2025 Qualifiers was an opportunity for a fresh start for many. It was also a window of opportunity for the youngsters across each national team roster to get some precious playing time and continue making a name for themselves.

 

 

The majority of these young guns are familiar to Asia Cup fans already, but there are also some new names that supporters should keep an eye on. Whatever the case, you can be sure that this won't be the last time you read about these players as they should have a bright future ahead in their careers.

Here are 10 promising prospects who shined in Window 1:

Disclaimer: For this exercise, we're considering players who are born in 2000 or later (24 years old or younger).

Kai Sotto (PHI)

Stats: 15.5 points, 12.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 2.5 blocks per game, 27.5 EFF
Age: 21 (Born 11 MAY 2002)

Sotto was not only the best youngster in Window 1, but he was one of the best players period. Only fellow "kuya" Justin Brownlee recorded a higher average EFF across two games. And he played in just 22.0 minutes per game.

It is still wild to check Sotto's age and still see that he's only 21 when Asia basketball fans have been salivating at his potential for at least 7 years. Coach Tim Cone jokes about how Sotto is already a 21-year-old "veteran" in the Gilas squad which is not far from how he's been playing. There wasn't a more polished youngster in this window and it will be challenging to find a one in the upcoming windows as well.

Josh Bannan (AUS)

Stats: 14.0 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists per game, 64.7 FG%, 21.0 EFF
Age: 23 (Born 26 FEB 2001)

It must have been nice to be Josh Bannan these past few days. He got to celebrate his 23rd birthday right after making a highly successful Boomers debut.

Australia basketball fans are probably rolling their eyes and thinking "DUH", but now we all know. And we all should have known already. Bannan had a great collegiate career at the University of Montana and has been playing well for the Brisbane Bullets in the National Basketball League (NBL). Could he be the next star to make their Boomers debut in an Asia Cup Qualifiers game?

Mustafa Rashed (BRN)

Stats: 23.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists per game, 18.0 EFF
Age: 22 (Born 4 JAN 2002)

There are only six players in the Asia Cup Qualifiers that averaged at least 15 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists per game through the first window. Rashed is the youngster of those players that includes stars like Brownlee, Demario Mayfield, Freddie Lish, Jamal Mayali, and Rustam Murzagaliyev.

At this point, Rashed is already Bahrain's undisputed star and has been since his breakout party at the Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament in Syria last year. Like Sotto, it's low key frightening for opponents if he continues to improve on what he already can do on the court.

Mohammad Amini (IRI)

Stats: 11.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.5 steals per game, 14.5 EFF
Age: 18 (Born 26 APR 2005)

Amini isn't impacting games like the three prospects listed above him here in the list, but the kid is just 18. The fact that he's playing 21.9 minutes per game for a team like Iran is a big sign of approval for his bright future.

There are still a lot of shots to go around to his seniors on the team, but Amini has been displaying slick movements and athleticism whenever he attacks.

Remember how confusing life was and how things weren't quite set in place yet when you were 18? Imagine how much better Amini can be once he is not a teenager anymore.

Kevin Quiambao (PHI)

Stats: 12.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists per game, 14.5 EFF
Age: 22 (Born 22 APR 2001)

Don't look now, it's Kevin Quiambao. The intriguing 1.93M (6'4") forward was already an intriguing talent when he played at the recent Asia Cup and he's still playing well even as one of the younger players on the team.

He's stood out as a player who sees the floor well and in this window, he's utilized that skill to make smart off-the-ball movements. Quiambao along with Sotto and Tamayo (and the injured AJ Edu) are looking like a frontline of the future for the Philippines.

Elias Sawalha (PLE)

Stats: 9.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.5 steals, 1 block per game, 14.0 EFF
Age: 21 (Born 8 APR 2002)

Consistent improvement is what stands out for Elias Sawalha. Palestine might have gone winless in this window, but they had some bright spots, one of which was the play of their young forward.

Sawalha wasn't explosive, but he has improved on his output from each of his appearance at the Asia Cup 2022 Qualifiers and the Asia Cup 2025 Pre-Qualifiers. There's still a huge void to fill for Palestine basketball, but Sawalha and Jamal Mayali are doing what they can.

Yuki Kawamura (JPN)

Stats: 13.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 1.5 steals per game, 14 EFF
Age: 22 (Born 2 MAY 2001)

We're not being fair when we say Kawamura's output in Window 1 is pretty much the standard of what we expect from him. That just speaks volumes about how well Kawamura has been playing for Japan and how much he's improved at such a rapid pace.

He's proven himself against World Cup-level teams, so it's no surprise that he continues to play well in these Qualifiers, even up against China in a high-pressure game. And it doesn't feel like Kawamura, who ranks top 3 in his team in points, rebounds, and assists, is done just yet.

Taran Armstrong (AUS)

Stats: 9.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, 7.0 assists per game, 13.5 EFF
Age: 22 (Born 15 JAN 2002)

Do you remember Australia's win over New Zealand in the Asia Cup 2022 Qualifiers on February 20, 2021 which was the Boomers debut for Dyson Daniels and Tyrese Proctor? Taran Armstrong made his Boomers debut in that game as well as a 19-year-old, recording 6 points and 8 rebounds.

So even if he's still considered a youngster, this is not Armstrong's first rodeo at the Qualifiers. He's certainly playing at a comfortable pace, too, with his assists average tied at second among all-players with Wael Arakji (and only behind the Philippines' Scottie Thompson). The Boomers' guard talent pool is stacked, but having another passer to pick from in the future in Taran Armstrong isn't something the program will complain about.

Arvind Kumar Muthu Krishnan (IND)

Stats: 13.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 2.5 steals per game, 12.5 EFF
Age: 23 (Born 16 MAR 2000)

A tough window for the young ballers of the India national team, going up against Iran and Kazakhstan. Muthu Krishnan had to shoulder a lot of the responsibilities, especially on the offensive end, but it was ultimately not enough.

The games should get a bit easier from here, but that means they will also be more important as well for India… which means Muthu Krishnan will have to continue to step up.

Marc Khoueiry (LBN)

Stats: 8.0 points, 2.0 rebounds per game, 70 FG% , 9.5 EFF
Age: 22 (Born 21 AUG 2001)

"Bobo" is still buried a bit in the deep Lebanon rotation, but when he's on the floor, you can always see why he's constantly considered as a player who will soon have a "breakout" performance.

He'll get there at some point. Right now, Khoueiry just has to take advantage of the minutes and touches he gets, as he's done in 12.8 minutes and 5 field-goal attempts per game in Window 1.

Notable mentions:

Ben Henshall (AUS) - 19 YO: 9 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists per game, 9 EFF
Julius Halaifonua (NZL) - 17 YO: 4 points, 4 rebounds, 2 blocks per game, 9 EFF
Yang Hansen (CHN) - 18 YO: 7.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3 assists per game 8.5 EFF
Carl Tamayo (PHI) - 23 YO: 6.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists per game, 8.5 EFF
Hamad Mousa (QAT) - 17 YO: 9 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals per game, 8 EFF
Pranav Prince (IND) - 20 YO: 8.5 points, 7.5 rebounds per game 8 EFF
Yuto Kawashima (JPN) - 18 YO: 6 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists 7 EFF
Takumi Simon (GUM) - 23 YO:  8 points, 1.5 rebounds per game, 7 EFF
Hayden Jones (NZL) - 17 YO: 7 points, 2 rebounds, Youngest to score in Window 1
Mohamed Ndao (QAT) - 16 YO: Youngest to play in Window 1

FIBA