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American Imports Taking Part in 2010 Asian Clubs Championships - May 23, 2010


POSTED BY:
SURUJH ROOPNARINE
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DerMarr
Johnson
The 21st Asian Clubs Championships began this weekend with top clubs from 10 nations vying for the coveted crown. The best of the best from countries like Iran, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria have converged in Qatar with American imports in tow hoping to bring the title back home. Here are the most notable names of imports that have experience ranging from the NBA level (DerMarr Johnson (6'9''-G-80, college: Cincinnati), Loren Woods (7'2''-C-78, college: Arizona)) to D-League veterans (Michael Fey (7'0''-F/C-83, college: UCLA), Chester Jarell Giles (6'11''-F/C-85, college: Oregon St.)).

Al Rayan (Qatar)
Craig Winder (6'2''-G-84, college: Texas) (Rio Grande Valley D-League): No player in the tournament is coming off a greater past season that Winder who hitthe game winning three-pointer at the buzzer which won the D-League Title for the Vipers last month. The third-year pro out of Texas has spent the majority of his career in the D-league, averaging a career best 14.7 points this past season as a sensation 6th man off the bench.

Michael Fey (Los Angeles D-League): The 7-0 center out of UCLA appeared in 50 games for the D-Fenders this season, averaging 12.8 points and 6.4 rebounds while shooting 56.6% from the field. Fey has experience internationally, playing in China and the UAE previously.

Mahram (Iran)
Jackson Vroman (6'10''-C/F-81, college: Iowa St.) (Phoenix, New Orleans NBA): Former Iowa State big man has spent the last few seasons in Iran after receiving Lebanese citizenship last May. He has led Mahram to back-to-back domestic league titles and the Arab Nations Cup last season. Teaming with Loren Toods, they combine for the most NBA experience of any club in the tournament.

Loren Woods (Minnesota, Miami, Toronto, Houston NBA / Austin D-League): Veteran center has played all across the globe since his last full season in the NBA during the 05-06 campaign. Lithuania, Turkey, Spain and now in Iran, he forms an intimidating front-line with fellow NBA alum Vroman.

Duhok (Iraq)
Calvin Cage (6'0''-G-84, college: Buffalo) (Buffalo NCAA): Scoring point guard who finished career as eighth leading scorer in school history. Has moved around quite a bit since college; playing in Cyprus, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Lebanon, Philippines and Mexico before ending up with Duhok in Iraq.

Priest Lauderdale (7'3''-C-73, college: Central State) (Atlanta, Denver NBA): At 36 years old, he is still going strong. Former first round (#28) pick in the 1996 NBA Draft, Lauderdale had a brief two-year NBA career, but has made a name for him self in Asia and the Middle East. In the early 2000s he dominated in Bulgaria before lately leading teams in Iran and Saudi Arabia to club glory. Has played for three of the 10 clubs in the tournament (An nasr, Al Hilal and Mahram).

Al Hilal (Saudi Arabia)
Brandon Crump (6'10''-C-82, college: Tennessee) (NCAA Tennessee): A four-year starter at Tennessee, Crump has carved out a fine career in China and South Korea. At 6-10, he provides excellent rebounding and shot-blocking ability in the paint.

DerMarr Johnson (Atlanta, New York, Denver, San Antonio NBA / Austin D-League): Maybe the most talented import taking part in these championships, Johnson was the sixth overall selection by Atlanta in the 2000 NBA Draft. A near life-ending car accident derailed his career, but he came back to serve as a valuable member of the Nuggets as well as dominant performer in the D-league. This is his first action in Asian Club competition, with his only other experience in the far east coming last season in China.

Al Riyadi (Lebanon)
Nate Johnson (6'7''-F-77, college: Louisville) (Columbus D-League): One of the most successful players in recent history of Middle East / Asian basketball. The former Louisville swingman has been a model of excellence on this stage. A 2006 Asian Club Championships winner, 2008 Jordan League Champion, 2009 Lebanese League Champion, three-time Arab Club Championships winner.the list goes on and on and on with Johnson.

Chester Jarell Giles (Los Angeles, Sioux Falls D-League): The mercurial talent who bounced around from Kansas, to Oregon State to eventually out of college, split the 2008-09 D-League season with LA and Sioux Falls before heading to the Philippines to play in the 2009 Asian Club Championships. In his second go-around, he will have a much better team on his side, as Johnson, Fadi El-Khatib, Brian Beshara-Feghali and company will match up well against any other team in the competition.

Al Jalaa Aleppo (Syria)
Garnett Thompson (6'10''-F/C-80, college: Providence) (Long Island ABA / Brooklyn USBL): Though he may not bring the name recognition as some of the other big men in this tournament, Thompson is definitely paying on their level. He helped lead Al Jalaa to the finals of their domestic league championship where they were stunned in the finals, however, he now has reinforcements for the Asian Club Championships as former St. Johns point guard Chudney Gray (6'2''-G-78, college: St.John's) will help facilitate the offense and get easier opportunities for Garnett. This season he has also taken Al Jalaa to the WABA Club Championships and scored 21 points while pulling down 12 rebounds in an opening game loss to favorites Al Riyadi.

Chudney Gray (Fayetteville D-League / Brooklyn USBL): Competing on the largest stages the last few years in Kuwait, South Korea, Qatar, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt has earned Gray the reputation f being one of the most complete point guards in this competition. Experience with the Asian Club Championships (2007 Bronze Medal) plus a familiarity with Garnett Thompson should serve the duo well as they try to move past the preliminary round and further in the tournament.

An Nasr (United Arab Emirates)
Vincent Jones (6'11''-C-77, college: Jackson St.) (Jackson State NCAA): A 6-11 veteran center out of Jackson State, Jones has played in multiple seasons in Russia and Turkey in addition to more recent campaigns in Iran, Syria and the UAE.   



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