TBT'ers shine at FIBA World Cup Qualifiers


By: Josh Brown | @josh_brown31

Six TBT'ers represented five different countries last weekend

It may not be an Olympic year, but the international basketball scene is as busy as ever with teams looking to qualify for the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China. Last weekend the qualification process entered the second round, with games taking place across Africa, North and South America, Europe and Asia. Right in the middle of the action was six TBT'ers, who represented countries around the world. We checked in to see how they faired on the world stage (hint: per usual, they all shined). 

Charles Abouo, Team Fredette, Ivory Coast

The Ivory Coast took another step towards qualification, going 2-1 over the weekend with wins over Rwanda and Mali. Abouo, who helped lead Team Fredette to the TBT semifinals just over a month ago, averaged 10.6 points, and 6.3 rebounds in three games. The BYU alum had his best game against Rwanda, where he dropped 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds in the team's 71-53 win. Abouo will suit up alongside Louisiana United forward Tyren Johnson for ADA Blois Basket 41 in France's ProB League this seaosn.


Johndre Jefferson, Overseas Elite, Central African Republic

It was an up-and-down three days for CAF, who started the weekend with a heartbreaking 66-65 loss to Mali, got blown out by Nigeria the next day and ended with a 68-61 win over Rwanda. Despite this, Jefferson showed why he has helped Overseas Elite win TBT the last four years. The big man from the University of South Carolina averaged 8.3 points and five rebounds and was an impressive +17 in the team's win over Rwanda. Qualification is not out of the picture for the CAF, who will have a rematch with all three teams in February. 


Dyshawn Pierre, Broad Street Brawlers, Canada

Canada's takeover of the international basketball scene continued over the weekend, going 2-0 with wins over the always dangerous Brazil and Chile. Playing alongside NBA talent such as Kelly Olynyk, Justin Jackson, Cory Joseph and Tristan Thompson, Pierre carved out a nice niche for himself. In the team's win over Chile, Pierre was a +9 in nearly 10 minutes of work. The Broad Street Brawlers guard heads back to Italy this season, where he will suit up alongside Team Fredette center Jack Cooley and Albuquerque Hoops star Scott Bamforth on Banco di Sardegna Sassari.


Johnathan Gray & Laron Smith, Tampa 20/20, US Virgin Islands

Although the Virgin Islands had to forfeit its game against Brazil due to travel complications, the Tampa 20/20 teammates made the most of their outing against Venezuela. Despite falling 87-73, Gray contributed eight points and three rebounds and Smith added six points and 13 boards. 


Ira Brown, Few Good Men, Japan

It was a crucial two games for Japan, who entered the second round of qualification with a 2-4 record and on the outside looking in. Brown and Japan made the most of the opportunity. The team picked up blowout wins over Kazakhstan and Iran to put them just one game back of the Philippines heading into November's games. Brown, a Japanese citizen who has played in the country the past seven years, averaged 7.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in the two games. As you'll see below, Brown had no problem energizing the crowd with a couple of monster dunks.



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