WASL standouts we hope to see tread the road to FIBA Asia Cup 2025
BEIRUT (Lebanon) - There has been no shortage of excitement in West Asia Super League (WASL) right from the get-go and that's thanks mainly to the players who make it a point to ball out whenever given the opportunity.
Most of which have been familiar with fans, since they have already proven their worth during stints with their respective national teams.
And so with this year set to be a busy one yet again with numerous NT events lined up, here are the WASL standouts we wish to see don their country's colors anew, especially in the FIBA Asia Cup 2025 Pre-Qualifiers and Qualifiers.
Mustafa Rashed (BRN)
Mustafa Rashed has been on an upward trajectory performance-wise and he's one of those Al Manama thanked for after breaking through in WASL-Gulf.
After scoring a total of 15 points in their first two games, the cat-quick guard set a season-high 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting -- including 3 triples -- and 5 assists to help his side outlast Al Sadd in an overtime thriller, 99-94.
The 21-year-old is currently averaging 11 .0 points on 37.9-percent field goal shooting, 2.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.3 steals.
Rashed has also emerged as one of Bahrain's top players, and his numbers in the ongoing FIBA World Cup 2023 Asian Qualifiers prove that as he has norms of 14.7 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 3.7 assists.
Mohammed Alsuwailem (KSA)
Mohammed Alsuwailem has emerged as one of the brightest youngsters in the region and proof of this has been the way he's producing for Al Hilal.
The towering 24-year-old is one of only five players with double-double norms. He's been averaging 18.0 points and 14.5 rebounds, together with 2.3 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1.5 blocks, helping his team to a 3-1 record.
Alsuwailem has fallen just short of tallying WASL's first 20-20 outing twice, with his 21-16 performance in a comeback win over Kazma the closest.
With the way he's performing, the 2.08 M (6'10") center has shown that his ACL injury is already a thing of the past, and should be called up to play again for Saudi Arabia sooner -- something he hasn't done since February of last year.
He last played for the NT during the World Cup Qualifiers' First Round, where he averaged 10.8 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks across four games.
Mustafa Matwali (KUW)
Mustafa Matwali wasted no time introducing himself to WASL fans when he helped Kuwait Club start off their season on the right foot.
The high-leaping 24-year-old finished with 12 points, 5 rebounds, and a pair of steals in a performance that saw him deliver crucial baskets in the extra period to help steer the crew to a thrilling 99-94 victory over Al Sadd at home.
The 2.03 M (6'8") forward has norms of 10.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.3 steals, 1.0 steal, and 1.0 block for Kuwait Club, who's leading Group B with a 3-0 card.
Formerly a youth team standout, Matwali has made his way to the Kuwait men's team in the Pre-Qualifiers' First Round and tallied 10.0 points and 7.5 rebounds, and we definitely hope to see him in the crucial next phase in February.
Hadid Bakhit (OMA)
Al Bashaer have yet to taste success this season but young ward Hadid Bakhit serves as one of the ball club's few bright spots.
The 23-year-old is putting up averages of 10.0 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.0 assists, highlighted by a pair of 13-point showings both against Shabab Al Ahli-Dubai.
Bakhit, who stands at 1.85 M (6'1"), impressed for Oman in the Pre-Qualifiers with 14.0 points and 3.5 rebounds with an efficiency rating of 12.0.
Babacar Dieng (QAT)
Babacar Dieng was Qatar's leading scorer in the Pre-Qualifiers' opening round with 17.5 points, and he's only furthering his case of being one of the national team's cornerstones through his solid play with Al Sadd.
The 25-year-old forward is the team's second-best scorer with 19.0 points, and also one of the Gulf's top rebounders with 12.7 boards. He's also been showing his passing prowess with 3.3 assists per outing.
One of his best showings happened just recently against Al Manama, where he produced 23 points on 5 treys alongside 13 rebounds in 45 minutes.
Qais Omar Alshabebi (UAE)
It's no longer a surprise Qais Omar Alshabebi has been playing so well in a FIBA club tourney -- just take a look at the Asia Champions Cup 2017.
And so the 31-year-old big man is bringing the expertise learned over the years to Shabab Al Ahli-Dubai, where he's one of the team's unquestioned leaders with numbers of 15.8 points and 8.8 rebounds.
The UAE star's most notable WASL showing to date happened in their 91-86 win over Kazma, where he finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds.
And there should be no doubt that he'll be this good should he represent again in next month's Pre-Qualifiers.
Alshabebi coming in as one of the top players after putting up team-bests of 18.5 points and 9.5 rebounds in the First Round -- numbers that landed him in the Top 10 of both statistical categories.
Mohammad Jamshidi (IRI)
Need we say more? Mohammad Jamshidi remains one of Asia's top guards today and he continues to prove as much with Gorgan.
The veteran internationalist is among WASL-West Asia's top 10 scorers with 18.8 points and the fourth-best assist man with 6.0 dimes. He's also been contributing 5.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals per outing.
In their streak-busting 110-69 win over Al Naft, the Iranian swingman fired 31 points on 59-percent shooting, on top of 6 rebounds and 7 assists.
Jamshidi has played in all nine of Team Melli's matches in the World Cup Qualifiers, and is one of their main providers with a team second-best 18.1 points on 43.8-percent shooting, along with 2.7 rebounds and 4.2 assists.
Karrar Hamzah (IRQ)
Karrar Hamzah was among Iraq's lead performers in the first round of the Pre-Qualifiers and his veteran presence also serves Al Naft well.
The 31-year-old guard is currently averaging 10.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 2.5 steals, helping his side to a 3-1 record in Group B.
And he'll definitely be doing a bit of everything again should he play for Iraq in the Pre-Qualifiers' next round, just like what he did in the first that saw him put up 13.5 points on 68.8-percent shooting, 3.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.0 steal.
Freddy Ibrahim (JOR)
The ongoing WASL-West Asia competitions also serves as a reminder why Freddy Ibrahim is one of the continent's top young guards.
Having turned 26 just last October, the 1.90 M (6'3") floor general is leading Orthodox Amman with per-game averages of 13.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 4.7 assists, which is fifth-best in West Asia.
Their clash versus ZobAhan saw the Falcons star submit a season-high 24 points on 50-percent field goal shooting, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals.
Ibrahim has appeared in all of Jordan's 10 games in the World Cup Qualifiers and is currently the tourney's leading assist man with 6.7 per outing, to go with his 9.1 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 1.3 steals.
Ali Haidar (LBN)
Beirut Club comfortably sits on top of Group A with a perfect 3-0 record and steering the ship toward success has been Ali Haidar.
In the top 10 of both scoring and rebounding, the 32-year-old veteran is leading the way with 19.7 points on a 53.3-percent clip and 6.3 rebounds.
Haidar shone the brightest in their dominant 87-58 triumph over Orthodox Amman on the road, powering his side with 25 points and 7 rebounds.
He's undeniably a picture of consistency just like for Lebanon in the World Cup Qualifiers, where he averaged 13.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.1 steals to lead the Cedars to a 7-1 record -- and to this year's global hoops conclave.
Omar Cheikh Ali (SYR)
Alkaramah remain in the hunt for their first WASL win and tirelessly leading the search is Syria national team standout Omar Cheikh Ali.
The 2.04 M (6'8") forward is one of the few to put up a double-double average with 14.8 points and 10.3 rebounds, together with 1.3 assists and 1.0 steal.
Cheikh Ali last played for the Syrian men's team in the First Round of the World Cup Qualifiers, where they fell short of reaching the next round.