Ahmed Al Mutawa: 'I play to win, there's no other way' - Sep 3, 2011
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Last year around this time, Ahmed Al Mutawa was preparing to move his family from Kuwait to Bahrain, a place all so familiar to Mutawa. This is where he first started playing basketball. Mutawa was recruited by Al Kuwait Club in 2008. There he played a big role in helping Kuwait club secure a regular season Championship and he helped push his team to the Arab Cup Championships Semi finals. Last summer, Mutawa and his agent (LSM) were presented with an offer for Ahmed to return to Bahrain to play for Manama Club. The deal would end with Manama club buying out the remainder of Ahmeds contract with Kuwait Club, leaving room for Ahmed to sign a 3 year deal in his home country. This was a great day for Bahrain basketball, and we expect to see many more of Bahrains talented players signing to neighboring country rosters.
Eurobasket had the pleasure of speaking with Ahmed Al Mutawa (Interview conducted by Corey A. Washington, CEO/President LSM Sports www.lowcountrysports.net ):
Eurobasket: How does it feel to be back playing in Bahrain This is where you began your career, so it must feel great!
Al Mutawa:Yes, Bahrain has always been my favorite place to play, because of the fans that fill up the gym almost every game.
Eurobasket: What were your expectations for this season when Manama expressed their interest in bringing you back to Bahrain? Now that the season is over, was the outcome what you were expecting?
Al Mutawa: Well my expectations is the same for every team I join, I always want to win all the championships, but our outcome was good because we won the Cup and almost made it to the league Championship finals. For a young team I think its a great result and that sets a great boost for us to win it all this season.
Eurobasket: Tell me about your team this year How does Manama differ from other clubs in BahrainDoes the players accept their roles?
Al Mutawa: Thats the beauty of Manama Club All the players know the club's successful history; therefore every player accepts their roles and try to continue their winning ways by playing hard and together as a team. If not, they would not be in our team.
Eurobasket: I know while you were in Kuwait, you played a total different role than what you are playing in Bahrain... Can you tell me how they differ, and how your experience in Kuwait prepared you for this season?
Al Mutawa:I believe my role will always vary from season to season depending on how strong the team is, therefore I always give my best no matter which team Im playing for. Kuwait was a great experience for me, and I got to play with great teammates and awesome imports players like Ira Clark and Andre Pits. Having a great staff and dedicated teammates pushed me to get better every day. I will always remember Kuwait Club.
Eurobasket: Ahmed, throughout your career, you have played in many countries, and against some of the best players that basketball has to offer. You actually played college ball in the USA How was that?
Al Mutawa: Playing in the USA is every international Player's dream, and my experience in College was what really developed my game. The level of talent and love for the sport that I witnessed and experienced in USA is what really convinced me to choose basketball as a career path.
Eurobasket: While in College, all players have someone who they say really influenced their game Who would that be for you? Is there a player or players that you played with or against, that you would love to meet on the floor again today & why?
Al Mutawa: I try to learn from everybody on every team I have played for, But I would love to play with/or against my old college teammates. One of them would be Dwayne Okantey who was one of the guys that always pushed me to stay after practice and take some extra shots. He always pushed me to improve my game. I think that he would dominate if he came and played in the Middle East.
Eurobasket: What does the future hold for Ahmed with Manama?
Al Mutawa: I Hope many more Championships! Ill play for Manama Club for as long as they want me to. Im comfortable here This is home.
Eurobasket: Having played throughout the GCC, you are well familiar with the level of play, and living conditions in these locations What would you say to players interested in playing in the Middle East?
Al Mutawa: I think any player that works hard, and of course that has some sort of talent in the gamecan find the right team for him in this region. My only advice would be to read about the country and culture you are going to play for, like this you can understand more of the culture.
Eurobasket: What do you think about having a GCC draft, for each location? This would obviously include a small camp prior to the draft, giving clubs and coaches a chance to see potential imports in person, and players a chance to see the region and learn a little about the culture before signing. Do you think something like this could bring exposure to GCC basketball?
Al Mutawa: That would be great for this region and I think any idea to improve the Game level in the Middle East is a great Idea.
Eurobasket: Can we get a prediction for this coming season? Will Manama go all the way? Al Mutawa: Yes we will go all the way because I practice and play this game to win, there is no other way I can do it.
A RESURGENT Manama last night staved off elimination in a 68-58 victory over Al Hala to extend their Golden Square semi-final series to a decisive third game in the Zain Bahrain Basketball League. Needing to win to force a decisive rubber match on Wednesday, Manama burst out of the gate to take a commanding lead early on and never looked back. Former NBA lottery pick Nikoloz Tskitishvili (212-C/F-83, agency: Interperformances) led Manama with 17 points. The seven-foot Georgian professiona... [read more]
A RESURGENT Manama last night staved off elimination in a 68-58 victory over Al Hala to extend their Golden Square semi-final series to a decisive third game in the Zain Bahrain Basketball League. Needing to win to force a decisive rubber match on Wednesday, Manama burst out of the gate to take a commanding lead early on and never looked back. Former NBA lottery pick Nikoloz Tskitishvili (212-C/F-83, agency: Interperformances) led Manama with 17 points. The seven-foot Georgian professional buried three three-pointers and also grabbed six rebounds on the night. Hussain Mohammed (PG) chipped in with 14 points, while Hassan Nowrooz came off the bench to score 13, nine of which came from beyond the arc. Versatile forward Mohammed Kuwayed also had a good game for the defending league champions. He put in an all-around effort with six points, eight rebounds and five assists. Seven-foot, two-inch American Loren Woods (218-C-78, college: Arizona), another former NBA player, paced Al Hala with 19 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks while playing the full 40 minutes. Hasan Gerashi and Hussain Salman added 15 and 10 points, respectively. They were Hala's only other players to finish in double-figures in the loss. Manama were guided in the contest by Bahraini coach Aqeel Milad, who has taken over as head coach following the exit of Serbian Dragan Raca. The change was made following the team's stunning loss in the first game of their Golden Square head-to-head. Manama built a comfortable 20-11 lead at the end of the first quarter before stretching it to a commanding 38-24 advantage at the break. They continued to pile on the pressure in the third period, at the end of which Manama were up by 18, 54-36. Hala managed to cut the deficit to a respectable 10 points in the end during garbage time play. Meanwhile, the other Golden Square semi-final series between Cup champions Muharraq and Al Ahli Club resumes tonight with game two at 7pm at the Khalifa Sports City arena in Isa Town. Muharraq head into the contest hoping to close out the series with a sweep after drawing first blood with a narrow 83-79 win in a physical first game. An Ahli win would send their series to a decisive winner-take-all clash on Thursday. Courtesy of: gdnonline.com
AL HALA registered a surprise 84-82 win over Manama in the Golden Square stage of the Basketball League at the Khalifa Sports City Hall in Isa Town. The quarter results were 19-18 (Manama) 23-15 (Al Hala) 21-18 (Al Hala) 30-22 (Manama) The game was the first of two matches to decide the team who will qualify for the final. Al Hala started the game with a line-up consisting of Hussain Salman, Hasan Gerashi, Ahmed Jamal, Yasser Bunafoor and Loren Woods (218-C-78, college: Arizona). Al Manam... [read more]
AL HALA registered a surprise 84-82 win over Manama in the Golden Square stage of the Basketball League at the Khalifa Sports City Hall in Isa Town. The quarter results were 19-18 (Manama) 23-15 (Al Hala) 21-18 (Al Hala) 30-22 (Manama) The game was the first of two matches to decide the team who will qualify for the final. Al Hala started the game with a line-up consisting of Hussain Salman, Hasan Gerashi, Ahmed Jamal, Yasser Bunafoor and Loren Woods (218-C-78, college: Arizona). Al Manama's line-up consisted of Mohammed Hussain, Mohammed Kuwaied, Ahmed Aziz, Nikoloz Nikoloz Tskitishvili (212-C/F-83, agency: Interperformances) and Mohammed Qurban (187-F-87). Manama were the first scoring side through Kuwaied but Al Hala took the lead quickly afterwards by a three-point shot from Gerashi. Manama extended their lead to three through Hussain before going on in the quarter to lead by eight. Al Hala, however, fought back hard to end the quarter trailing by only one point. Al Hala started the second quarter in strong fashion quickly taking the lead away from Manama to lead by seven points. The third quarter saw the winners extend their lead to 10 points. The real action was in the fourth quarter as Manama put in a fight to get back into the game. They got so close by closing the gap early into the quarter but their offensive approach helped Al Hala punish them by scoring from their weakest of chances. The last four minutes saw Nawrooz score a three pointer to trail by four points. Kuwaied also scored a three-point shot to drop the margin to just one point with two minutes to play. They managed to tie the score through Hussein who scored one from a two-free shots which he was awarded. Al Hala's Woods quickly gave his side a two-point lead with a magnificent dunk before adding in a free shot from a personal foul by Najaf. The last seconds of the game saw Kuwaied miss two free throws as Al Hala went on to score a precious win. Al Hala's Jamal topped the scoring ranks for his side with 20 points while Manama's Nikoloz Tskitishvili topscored for his team with 21 points. Al Ahli will face Muharraq today at 7pm at the Khalifa Sports City Hall in their first game of the Golden Square stages. Courtesy of: gdnonline.com
Al Hidaya (D1) signed 28-year old American guard Ray Mitchell (201-95kg-89, college: CS Stanislaus). He started the season at Samaheej in Bahrain Premier League. The last summer Mitchell played at Caboolture Suns (State League) in Australia. He is quite experienced player. Mitchell has played on five different continents (Europe, Asia, Latin America, Australia and of course North America). He has played previously professionally in Germany (Westfalen Mustangs), Mexico (Soles), ABA (IE Inv... [read more]
Al Hidaya (D1) signed 28-year old American guard Ray Mitchell (201-95kg-89, college: CS Stanislaus). He started the season at Samaheej in Bahrain Premier League. The last summer Mitchell played at Caboolture Suns (State League) in Australia. He is quite experienced player. Mitchell has played on five different continents (Europe, Asia, Latin America, Australia and of course North America). He has played previously professionally in Germany (Westfalen Mustangs), Mexico (Soles), ABA (IE Invaders) and NEBA (Los Angeles R.). Mitchell is a former Eurobasket Summer League player, which is considered top international summer league on the market. He attended Cal.St.-Stanislaus until 2013 and it is his fourth season as a professional player.
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