Dubai’s basketball players are shooting for a chance to win a trip of a lifetime to Las Vegas, to play alongside the top upcoming talent in the States.
Prestige Star Sport Academy (PSSA) is giving young athletes a chance to make it onto a team heading Stateside to play in front of NBA stars and American scholarship scouts, with a series of try-outs in Dubai.
Minjae Kang is one lucky prospect who has already booked his place on the plane. The 18-year-old student told Sport360 he said, “I’m hoping to get a basketball scholarship in the US so playing in Vegas should expose me to the scouts over there”. Kang, who has been Dubai-based for the last eight years added, “I’ve been training seriously for this for about four years and the dream for me would be to play in the NBA, but I’d just like to play pro overseas, maybe South Korea”.
Founder of PSSA, Dejan Kamenjasevic spoke on court at Dubai Sports World saying, “The UAE is brimming with unbelievable basketball talent and it is our pleasure to give the region an opportunity to present this to the big shots of basketball in Las Vegas. Our mission at PSSA is to encourage sporting dreams and aspirations and we are doing just that by taking a junior team to Las Vegas and giving them the opportunity to play against the best teams in the US.”
Kamenjasevic himself played top-level basketball in Spain before moving to Dubai and setting up PSSA. This is the most successful academy in the UAE, we can say that because of our growth over the last year. We work with a lot of schools and universities across the UAE. The Vegas opportunity is the first time any academy from the UAE has gone stateside for something this big. Our job is to train the kids so they’re up to a good enough standard to complete with the best in the US”.
The chosen team will take part in the three-week tour in July, which will see them practice and play basketball against the best teams in the US, as part of the prestigious Amateur Athletic Union Tournament.
Operating in over 30 locations throughout the UAE, PSSA offers high level coaching services and specialises in harnessing and nurturing sporting talent with the help of ex-pro players and basketball specialists.
For a chance to be a part of the trip of a lifetime to Las Vegas PSSA will be scouting for the last few spaces at Dubai Sport World from until 25th May. Hopefuls can sign up via [email protected]
Ball Above All, the top recreational basketball league in the UAE, began its new season with the first round of games in the Elite League this past week.
A thriller took place in the Dolphins’ 73-72 narrow win over Dubai Heat, which went down to the final seconds.
After Dolphins led most of the game and pushed their lead to 16 points by the end of the third quarter, Dubai Heat fought back valiantly in the fourth and took the lead with 40 seconds left.
Karim Hachani had other plans, however, and nailed a 3-pointer to put Dolphins back ahead and secure the win. Lloyd Edjuto was the standout player, finishing with 23 points, five rebounds, five assists and a steal.
Spartans, meanwhile, defeated Vipers 69-61, handing the 3-peat champions a rare loss.
Spartans came out strong in the first quarter and kept the league throughout the contest, with Max Klein shining brightest with 21 points, three rebounds, two steals and an assist.
The clash between Binary Financial and Dubai Flight wasn’t nearly as close as the former earned a convincing 92-48 blowout victory.
At the centre of the dominant performance was Bilal Abdullah, who dropped 36 points to go with seven rebounds, six assists and two steals.
Ball Above All continues to deliver high quality leagues in Dubai, offering multiple divisions, pick-up games and a recently-launched Academy for all ages during Ramadan.
Follow Ball Above All on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Register to play on www.BallAboveAll.ae.
For too long, the basketball community in the UAE has been segregated, with local clubs on one side and expatriates on the other.
Through its involvement in the ongoing Vice President’s Cup, Ball Above All is finally bridging the gap between the two in a move that could open doors in growing the game in the region like never before.
If you’re a regular on the basketball scene here, you’ve already heard of Ball Above All, a concept Belal Abiad brought from Australia to Dubai in 2013. Best described as a community, it offers pick-up sessions, leagues, tournaments and a soon-to-be academy, catering to players of all ages, genders and skill levels.
In fact, the level of competition has gotten so high – specifically in the Men Elite League – that Ball Above All is now playing against professional teams.
“Honestly, the Ball Above All Elite League, the level is fairly high, compared to the UAE in general. When we play these teams, for us it’s a good run,” Abiad said.
“Yeah we’re recreational players, but we’ve had professional experience in the past. We’re older, but we have this experience which we’ve carried forward and is helping us a lot against these teams.”
Their breakthrough came in February’s Dubai International Basketball Championship, where they earned a spot among renowned clubs boasting former NBA players.
The showing in the competition, coupled with the exposure they had already built up, put Ball Above All in consideration for the Vice President’s Cup, which enters the quarter-finals stage today.
When the UAE Basketball Association was struggling to get teams for the tournament, the interest became mutual and suddenly, Ball Above All was rubbing shoulders with local clubs who normally only play amongst themselves or against international sides.
Despite struggling for sponsorship and having had to pay for everything, from entry fees to medicals to uniforms and more, Ball Above All have more than held their own against the five local squads: Al Wasl, Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club, Sharjah, Al Nasr and Bani Yas.
They’re now in the finals where they’ll place Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club on Wednesday after compiling a 3-2 record in the group stages (one loss was due to a forfeit) and defeating Al Nasr and Al Wasl in the playoffs.
Two of Ball Above All’s players, Mamdou N’Daiye and Amer Al Sati, have impressed so much in the Cup that they’ve garnered attention from the local sides and are in talks to sign on as professionals for the 2018 season.
“That’s a good sign for expat basketball where people can have a team such as Ball Above All and if they’re good enough they might have a chance if they’re born here to play in the UAE league as a professional,” said Abiad.
Whether or not they win the title, Ball Above All have left an impression and shown what a greater synergy between local and expat basketball in the region can yield.
“We’ve proved our level without getting paid,” Abiad said. “So imagine if you’re actually paying professionals and training them to do this. That’ll be huge. You’ll produce big results.
“This would also help the UAE teams here to face better competition and lift their level, so when they travel internationally they can present the UAE in a better light.”
Manager: Rafiq Shabib; Coach: Samer
Assistant coach: Mohamed Ali Guindo
Assistant coach: Aleco Hayek
Players: Aaron Leung, David Negron, Michel Hakim, Aaron Sanchez, Max Klien, Belal Abiad, Mamdou N’Daiye, Amer Al Sati, Pavel Aheunin, Agrey Nyadera, Marcelo Correa, Aristide Mendy, Daniel Leithner, Khaled Ismail, Karim Hachani