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25 August
10 September, 2023
5 Freddy Ibrahim (JOR)
17/11/2021
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The tantalizing ten - point guards to keep an eye on in November window

MIES (Switzerland) - Coming very soon will be the start of the second edition of the FIBA Basketball World Cup  Qualifiers. Here are ten guards we can't wait to see hit the hardwood again.

 

Solo Diabate, Cote d'Ivoire

The mesmerizing point guard reconfirmed his status as one of the best in Africa when he wowed fans with his passing and scoring in Kigali this past summer. The bigger the game, the better he plays, with his team-high 20 points almost lifting the Elephants to a stunning come-from-behind victory over Tunisia in the FIBA AfroBasket Final, a contest the Carthage Eagles held on to win, 78-75.

Guo Ailun, China

There's never been any question about the skill of Guo, whose handles make him an elite playmaker in Asia and make the Chinese a fun team to watch. At only 27 years of age, the time is perfect for the 1.92m Liaoyang-born point guard to be his country's main man in the Qualifiers.

Victor Liz, Dominican Republic

There is no opponent that Liz fears, no defender he is afraid to challenge whether it's attempting a three-pointer or driving to the basket. And Liz is also tough as nails on defense. In those hard moments at the start of games when the Dominicans might be a little nervous or unsure of themselves, Liz is always the spark that lights the fire.

Andrew Albicy, France

There is no better example of perseverance and being ready when his name is called than Albicy, the point guard who was instrumental in getting Les Bleus to the World Cup in China and then helping them get to the podium. He's smooth, with cat-like quickness, skilled and has a strong base on defense with very quick hands.

Freddy Ibrahim, Jordan

The 1.90m (6ft 3in) crowd-pleaser is in the process of grasping the mantel as his country's most exciting player, be it with his ability to score from deep or with dazzling drives, or to find teammates for easy baskets. He shot 42.9% from three-point range at the World Cup in China and more recently sparkled in the Asia Cup Qualifiers, averaging 16.8 points and 5.4 assists per game.

Alessandro Pajola, Italy

Italy was not short of flair in the years since their silver medal run at the Athens Olympics in but maybe they lacked some grit in the most difficult moments of games - at least until recently. Pajola, voted the best under-22 player after helping Virtus Bologna win the Italian title, is one of those Italian players that showed an abundance of grit on defense in hard moments of games during the Lega A season and then at both the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament and the Tokyo Games. The 1.94m (6ft 4in) Pajola has long arms and is super aggressive on the opposing ballhandler.

Jaime Fernandez, Spain

A nickname says a lot about a player, so we're going to call Fernandez "Señor Smooth" because while moving around the court at a breakneck speed, he does so in a sleek, classy fashion. He will pick the pocket of a guard, race down the floor and lay the ball up and in before anyone knows what has happened. Truth be told, Fernandez is listed as a shooting guard but he has such good handles and passing ability that many times, he is actually the point guard.

Luka Rupnik, Slovenia

Rupnik knows only two speeds: fast and faster. Whoever draws the defensive assignment on the dynamo playmaker has his work cut out for him because Rupnik never stops and rarely does he slow down.

Gerson Goncalves, Angola

Lukeny, which is the name on the back of his jersey, is difficult to guard because he changes pace on drives to the basket and has a strong left-handed dribble. He also has a penchant for drawing contact and getting to the line. All that's missing is a more accurate three-point shot. His willingness to fight and scrap for everything makes Goncalves an easy choice to have on the court for most of the game.

Omar Abada, Tunisia

On a very talented and experienced team that marched to the country's third AfroBasket title this summer since 2011, Abada played big minutes and reached double digits in points in every game. If it was surprising that leading scorer and assists man Michael Roll, the team's talisman, was left off the All-Star Five, Abada certainly raised enough eyebrows in Kigali with his shooting from the floor and free-throw line, his dunks and his defense.

FIBA