Basketball wasn’t always a prevalent sport on the international level, but events like the William Jones Cup have gone a long way toward spreading its popularity to every corner of the globe.
Beginning July 6, the 35th edition of the Jones Cup will take place in Taipei City, featuring some notable talent from nine international teams. The tournament spans nine days in a round-robin format, with each team in search of some international prestige and a potential championship finish.
Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about the Jones Cup, highlighting some of the tournament’s top talent to watch ahead of the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship next month.
Where: Xinzhuang Gymnasium; Taipei, Taiwan
When: July 6-July 14
2012 Winner: Philippines
Teams to Watch: United States, Iran
Teams and Rosters
Iran began an impressive run in the Jones Cup beginning with a win in 2009—the first of three consecutive championships before the Philippines ended its streak last year. While the United States has a long-standing history of success in the event, it hasn’t fielded a championship squad since 2006, finishing second in 2008 and third in 2012.
As such, Iran should be considered a serious contender to add another title this year, but the U.S. team can’t be counted out, nor can Japan or Korea, each of which posted a top-three finish in the last two contests.
The Philippines were not invited back to the event this year following international tension with Taiwan, as noted by Paul Huang of TaipeiTimes.com.
Here’s a breakdown of each team’s roster.
|Jean Abdel Nour||G-F|
|Cheikh Hussein El Khatib||PG|
|Keijuro Matsui ||G|
|Daiki Tanaka ||F|
|Makoto Hiejima ||G|
|Atsuya Ota ||C|
|Yuta Watanabe ||SF|
|Takahiro Kurihara ||G-F|
|Kosuke Takeuchi ||F-C|
|Ryota Sakurai ||G|
|Daisuke Noguchi ||F|
|Choi Bu Kyung||F|
|Khaldoun Abou Ruqayah||F|
|Abdallah Abou Qoura||F|
|Samad Nikha Bahrami||F|
|Ibrahim Abou Khadra||G|
|Youssef Abou Shousha||G|
*Chinese Taipei Rosters Unavailable as of July 5 at 10:15 a.m. ET.
Players of Note
Eric Hicks (United States)
The U.S. basketball representative at the Jones Cup doesn't feature the big-name talent the national team typically fields in international competitions, but there are a couple players of note on the 2013 roster.
Most of the team features former college players who have experience at the international level, some of whom also saw time with NBA Summer League squads, including Eric Hicks.
Hicks (6'6", 250 pounds) played college ball at Cincinnati, going undrafted following his four-year college career. He had stints with both the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat in the NBA Summer League, eventually playing professionally in Belgium, Russia and Poland.
The forward averaged 10 points and 7.2 rebounds for his career at Cincinnati, tallying 15 points and 9.7 rebounds in 34.4 minutes during his senior campaign in 2005-06.
Marcus Melvin (United States)
Marcus Melvin played collegiate ball at North Carolina State from 2000 to 2004, earning a first-team All-ACC Tournament selection during his junior season.
In four years with the Wolfpack, the 6'8" forward averaged 10.7 points and 5.7 rebounds per game, highlighted by a 14.3-point, 8.1-rebound senior campaign.
He has played professionally in Argentina, Venezuela and Romania since going undrafted following the 2003-04 season.