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Iraq Internationally


Ahmad Madwar

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Middle East
IBL Standings
 1 Al Karkh 13-0 
 2 Al Shurtah 11-2 
 3 Al Naft 11-2 
 4 Nift Al-Janoub 7-4 
 5 Al Kahraba 7-5 
 6 Al Mina 5-8 
 7 Al Hilla 4-7 
 8 Al-Tadamoun 3-9 
 9 Zakho 3-9 
 10 Al-Khtot Al-Jawiya 2-10 
 11 AL-Adhamiya 1-11 
Full Standings
Arab Club Championships Standings
Group A
 1 Beirut Club 4-0 
 2 Al Ettehad 3-1 
 3 Al Arabi 2-2 
 4 Al Nasr 1-3 
 5 Al Sadab 0-4 
Group B
 1 ASS Sale 4-0 
 2 Homenetmen 3-1 
 3 Sporting 2-2 
 4 Al Fateh 1-3 
 5 Qalandia 0-4 
Full Standings
WABA Champions Cup Standings
 1 Petrochimi 3-0 
 2 Al Riyadi 2-1 
 3 Sariya 1-2 
 4 Al Jaish 0-3 
Full Standings


Next Round Schedule

Round 15 (Regular Season)

Al Hilla 60% Jan.25 Al Mina
Al Karkh 95% Jan.25 Al-Tadamoun
Al Kahraba 88% Jan.25 Al-Khtot Al
Interview with Emanuel Willis - Apr 1, 2013

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Eurobasket had the pleasure of talking with Emanuel Willis. The veteran big man is a part of the new crop of US PLAYERS IN IRAQ. He was able to share his thoughts on being a part of a new idea in the storied war torn part of the Middle East, and what he sees going forward from this experience.

EU: Emanuel, first off, THANK YOU for talking with us. How are you enjoying Iraq? How did you find out about this league and how did you sign a contract to play here?

EW: First of all I want to thank Eurobasket for this interview, and I would also like to thank God for this opportunity. This is my first time in Iraq and I really did not know what to expect in Iraq. My team and management in Duhok, Iraq has made it very easy and humbling for me to come and play here. Team Duhok is a first class organization and also an amzing city, that has made my transiton from the United States very comfortable to come play in the Iraqi basketball league. I am enjoying every moment of being here. I found out about this league through my agent Laith Najjar of Advantage Sports Agency. I signed a contract through his partner Mohammed Al-Kafaji who is a part of the Duhok basketball club.

EU: You do know that this is the First True attempt at having US proffessionals playing in the league. How have you found the level of play here compared to other Mid-East countries? We see that you have also played in Oman, Kuwait and also in Turkey.

EW: In all honesty, the level of play in Iraq is becoming very compettitive. There love of the game is growing by the day. Having US professionals has helped with exposure and also increased the competition all across the league. Teams now believe they have an opportunity to compete for the championship. The local big men in Iraq is the difference and I believe that is what seperates the other leagues I have played in. They are young and growing each season. Having US professionals is benefiting them tremendously.

EU: Being a veteran of international basketball in a variety of countries, how do you feel the addition of import players helps the level of basketball here? Do you think it helps the country as a whole?

EW: The addtion of imports has made a great impact on the game of basketball here in Iraq. The country appreciates good basketball and is growing to love this game. The knowledge, experience, and talent the imports bring to this country is a huge help to each and every player in this league. The country lacks knowledge of the game and with the imports bringing in their experience, it's helped players grow and understand the game of basketball tremendously. The country is excited for the years to come and knows that this league will continue to grow and become more competittive.

EU: How have the local fans accepted you and the other American players?

EW: Our local fans here in Duhok are some of the best in the league. Duhok has a winning traditon here and have won the last 4 championships in Iraq. On the other hand we play in alot of hostile environments because many teams want to beat us. The fans have embraced the imports as family in Iraq. It's still a growing league but in a couple years the fan base for basketball should be incredible.

EU: Do you see this as being a positive thing for Iraq? Do you see any room for improvement in this?

EW: Yes it is a positive thing in Iraq that they have embraced the imports. They have started a new league by bringing imports, and I believe it will open the doors for other Americans to come to the league. There are minor changes needed to be made to make this a top Middle East league. As I stated before in a couple of years it will be a great league for imports to come and play.

EU: Have the local coaches been able to keep up?What are your thoughts?

EW: The local coaches here have adjusted to the new and improved basketball in Iraq. I have personally seen a lot of adjustments made for the better in the league. Since almost every team has imports the league has gotten better over night. Which means you have about 5 teams that can win the championship and that's due to the coaches adjusting to this new style of basketball.

EU: Tell us briefly how it is for you to play with the local players and in a country that may not be as far along basketball wise as the US or some of your other place of experience?

EW: I can't speak for the other imports in the league, but it is actually very easy for me to play with my teammates here in Iraq. That's because 3 of our locals are Iraqi-Americans. Jenero Dawood, Michael Shamon, and Rame Batta are all basically Americans with college experience. So, it's more easier to relate to people that's from the states. We also have great national team players that know the game which makes it fun to play here.

EU: Any thoughts on the rest of the season?

EW: We are currently in 3rd place in the league with 5 games left in the regular season and I would love for us to fight our way in that first spot. So we can bring Duhok a championship. And being MVP of the league would be icing on the cake with averaging 24 points 14rebounds 4blocks 3assists per game.

EU: We know that it is early, but what are your plans for the future?

EW: My plan for the future is to establish myself as one of the best big men in the region, so I can get to another level playing international basketball.

EU: Any thing to say to your family & fans?

EW: I would like to thank my fans and family for the love and support they have shown me all these years. They are the reason why I am still playing at a high level. I will be playing my heart out for the fans for years to come. I would like to say thanks to Eurobasket for the interview.


Sammy Monroe
Sammy Monroe (ex Homentmen) joins Ahli Shabab - 3 days ago
Defending champion Ahli Shabab Dubai (D1) added to their roster 33-year old American (has also Iraqi passport) forward Sammy Monroe (198-85, college: Newberry). He played recently at Homentmen in Lebanese LBL league. He helped them to make it to the Supercup final. The last season Monroe played at Al Gharafa in D1 where in 18 games he had very impressive stats: 20.3ppg, 10.1rpg, 5.8apg (top 4) and 1.8spg. He contributed to his team winning the regular season and make it to the semifinals....   [read more]
IBL Round 13: Al Kahraba is defeated by Al Shurtah in a derby game - 5 days ago
Here is the last round review presented by ESL. The most exciting game was a derby match between two local teams from Baghdad: Al Shurtah (#2) and Al Kahraba (#4). Al Kahraba was defeated at home 78-92 and even the advantage of their own court did not help. Al Shurtah have a solid series of four victories in a row. They maintain second place with 11-1 record behind leader Al Karkh. Al Kahraba at the other side dropped to the fifth position with five games lost. Al Shurtah's supporters...   [read more]

Gabe Freeman
Al Karkh adds Freeman to their roster, ex Halifax H. - 6 days ago
GABE FREEMAN Al Karkh (IBL) added to their roster 33-year old American forward Gabe Freeman (198-85). He joins another USA player Qiydar Davis which is already in the roster. Freeman just played at Halifax Hurricanes in Canadian NBL. In 13 NBL Canada games he recorded stats: 15.4ppg, 8.2rpg, 1.9apg and 1.0spg this season. He started the season with St. John's Edge in Canadian NBL Canada before he got released. The list of the past achievements is quite long as among others Freeman was v...   [read more]

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