Jamshidi, Gorgan looking forward to ''great game'' versus Arakji, Riyadi
BEIRUT (Lebanon) - Mohammad Jamshidi knows the landscape of basketball in West Asia well. He’s been a star in the region for almost a decade, so he knows what to expect to some extent when he suits up for Gorgan in the inaugural WASL West Asia League.
"I’m very excited to play in WASL. I’m sure it would be good experience." - Mohammad Jamshidi
Right from the moment he found out that Gorgan were drawn to Group B with Riyadi from Lebanon, Al Karamah from Syria, and Al Naft from Iraq, Jamshidi circled on his calendar a particular matchup.
"I’m looking forward to play against Riyadi and Wael Arakji," said the Iran sharpshooter "It would be great game."
Jamshidi played against Arakji and Lebanon at FIBA Asia Cup 2017
Who wouldn’t look forward to watch a game between two of the best players in the region go up against each other? The good news is that Jamshidi and the fans won’t have to wait too long as the clash between Gorgan and Riyadi will be the first game right off the bat for both teams.
There’s no surprise that Jamshidi is hyped up for the competition.
"I’m very excited to play in WASL" he said. "I’m sure it would be good experience."
This inaugural season will progress in the Group Stage with all teams in the same group playing against each other in a home-and-away format. At the end of the Group Stage, the first-place teams in each group will advance directly to the Semi-Finals. The second- and third-place teams will crossover to play in the Qualification to Semi-Finals match-ups.
Therefore, with Gorgan and Jamshidi having to go up against the likes of Riyadi, Alkaramah, and Al Naft, it won’t be easy to get through to the next round.
But Jamshidi has confidence in himself and the team.
"I believe we have a good team and, for sure, we are looking for the first place," says the 31-year-old forward.
That confidence is well-founded.
Jamshidi is one of the best players, not only in Iran, but in the entire continent of Asia. If you aren’t convinced yet, spare a few minutes to watch his 41-point performance against Syria, a team that features players Jamshidi could go up against again when Gorgan faces Alkaramah.
Gorgan is not a one-man show either. They wouldn’t be back-to-back Iran Basketball League champions if they were a one-man crew. And that’s why they will be one of the favorites to breakthrough as one of the top teams in WASL West Asia.
In the end, however, Jamshidi knows that there is also a bigger goal in mind with Gorgan for this WASL campaign. They have already solidified their status as one of the top clubs in Iran, but now they’ll be able to prove themselves against the best clubs in the region while also getting the chance to improve.
"I think [WASL] will help Asia basketball to grow and teams will get better by playing more games against each other," said Jamshidi.
More than just playing games against each other, these teams will also be facing each other on their home-courts. The competition pits the teams in the same group to play in a double round-robin home-and-away format. Therefore, not only will Gorgan be travelling to Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria, the fans at home will be ready to fill up the stands when Riyadi, Al Naft, and Alkaramah come to town.
"Gorgan has the best fans," boasted Jamshidi. "We are proud to have them and they are the most dangerous weapon we have."
"They expect a championship and we will try our best to make it happen."