FOR a Jordan team that ended Iran’s Asian basketball reign two years ago, the humiliating exit on Friday left a bitter taste in the mouth.
The Jordanians, then mentored by veteran international coach Tab Baldwin, pulled off a king-sized quarterfinal victory over the Iranians in the 2011 Fiba-Asia men’s edition in Wuhan, China.
But Jordan underwent major personnel changes and now look nothing like the old team, suffering an embarrassing 50-94 defeat at the hands of the rampaging Iranians on Friday.
“There’s a big difference now between basketball in Iran and basketball in Jordan,” said a dejected Wesam Al-sous, a long-time backup point guard-turned starter following the departure of revered playmaker Sam Daghles this year.
“We’re trying to solve this problem, but I guess it’s not getting any better.”
For Jordan national coach Alexandris Evangelos, his team came in with a mindset of beating Iran, despite the fact that the former two-time champion’s core of big man Hamed Hadadi, Nikkhah Bahrami Samad and point guard Mahdi Kamrani are back with a vengeance.
“We played today with the best team of this tournament. Maybe for the game, our mindset was we can do it (win) in this game, but unfortunately things didn’t go as we had in mind,“ explained Jordan’s Greek coach, who lost veterans led by Daghles, Zaid Al-Khas, Abbas brothers Zaid and Islam, and naturalized player Rashiem Wright, who was replaced by Jimmy Baxter this year.
Still, Evangelos remains optimistic that Friday’s humiliating defeat is good for the new batch of Jordanians as they look forward to bouncing back in future international competitions.