Qualified Team Focus - Jordan: One more go-around with Abbas, other vets
MIES (Switzerland) - The draw for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023, presented by Wanda, will be held in Manila, Philippines, on April 29. It is now time to meet the 32 teams that try to become World Champions in a few months.
Here is the number 33 team in the FIBA World Ranking Men, presented by Nike, third-time World Cup participants Jordan.
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How did they qualify
Jordan entered the Asian Qualifiers with the goal of reaching the World Cup back-to-back for the first time, and Wesam Al-Sous was in charge of the effort.
The head coach played a decade for the senior national team, including at the 2010 World Cup. Over the course of the 2023 Asian Qualifiers, Jordan had some outstanding individual performances and plenty of ups and downs. But the Asians finished the deal in the final window.
The qualification campaign tipped off with a nice comeback from 13 points down to beat Saudi Arabia at home 68-61 in Group C. In the return fixture in Saudi Arabia just days later, Jordan failed to hold a 13-point lead and lost 72-64.
The February 2022 window started with a strong 74-63 victory as Dar Tucker scored 29 points, Ahmad Al Dwairi had 11 points and 12 rebounds and Freddy Ibrahim chipped in 11 assists.
Ibrahim notched a double-double of 17 points and 10 assists in Jordan's 94-64 home win over Indonesia. Jordan booked their spot in the Second Round in the June/July 2022 window. First they lost at Lebanon 89-70 but rebounded with a 77-52 win at Indonesia.
The FIBA AsiaCup 2022 followed later in July and Jordan beat Iran in the Quarter-Finals before losing 86-85 to Lebanon in the Semi-Finals and 83-75 to New Zealand in the Third Place Game. Back to the Asian Qualifiers and the start of Second Round play in Group E, Coach Al-Sous' team defeated India 80-64 at home as Tucker flirted with a triple-double (18 points 8 rebounds 8 assists).
Jordan could not grab a second win in the August 2022 window as they lost 100-72 in New Zealand despite Tucker's double-double of 19 points and 12 rebounds.
The November 2022 window began with a disappointing 74-66 loss at home to Philippines. Tucker netted 23 points and Al Dwairi picked up 18 points and 16 rebounds, but they were not enough as Jordan dropped their first game at home since 2018.
Jordan's main guys stepped up in the second game with 31 points from Tucker, Al Dwairi collecting 22 points and 12 rebounds and Ibrahim dishing out 14 assists in a 92-75 win at home over New Zealand.
Jordan actually were guaranteed their spot in the World Cup even before they played their first game of the February 2023 window as New Zealand beat Saudi Arabia. Jordan celebrated later in the day with a 98-63 victory in India with Ibrahim tallying 21 points and 13 assists.
Jordan finished the qualification game with a thrilling, if not nervous 91-90 win in Philippines. Jordan lost a 25-point lead but ended up getting the victory thanks to Tucker putting together 22 points and 12 rebounds.
Best result at the World Cup
Jordan will be playing in their third World Cup and the second straight appearance. The Asians grabbed 23rd place in 2010 for the country's best-ever finish. Jordan took 28th place in China 2019.
Last World Cup appearances
Jordan's debut in 2010 saw them lose all five games in the group stage. They lost their first game just 76-75 to Australia and dropped their game to Argentina 88-79.
In China 2019, Jordan were defeated in all three First Round games - losing just 80-76 versus Dominican Republic before getting beaten by 39 points to France and 34 versus Germany. Jordan failed to win their opener in the 17th-32nd Classification, losing by 55 to Canada.
But Jordan finished the tournament with their first-ever win in the World Cup, beating Senegal 79-77 to finish 28th.
Players to watch
Coach Al-Sous had five players appear in at least 10 games, topped by Freddy Ibrahim and Ahmad Alhamarsheh with 12 games each. The point guard Ibrahim is one of Jordan's absolute leaders at age 26 - which is quite young compared to many of his other top teammates.
He is teamed up in the backcourt by 34-year-old star Dar Tucker, who can still dominate international games.
Ahmad Al Dwairi is a force in the middle at "just" 30 years of age while the team also relies on Ahmad Alhamarsheh (36), Mohammad Hussein (33) and the 39-year-old Zaid Abbas, who is still going strong and will be making his third World Cup appearance.
Zaid Abbas at 2010 World Cup
Sami Bzai will also play a major role in Jordan's performance this summer as will Amin Abu Hawwas and Hashem Abbas.
Qualified Team Focus series
Please check the teams we have already broken down. In the past weeks, before the last qualifications that happened in February 2023, we have ordered them by their position in the FIBA World Ranking Men, presented by Nike:
Spain, Australia, France, Slovenia, Lithuania, Greece, Italy, Germany, Canada, Finland, New Zealand, USA, Serbia, Brazil, Venezuela, Montenegro, Puerto Rico, Iran, Dominican Republic, China, Latvia, Mexico and Georgia.