Emirati Khalifa Khouri was one of the breakout stars of the National School League (NSL), showcasing his skills while leading the International School of Choueifat to the Under-14 final.
ISC fell short of capturing the inaugural title, losing 31-15 to Indian High School Dubai, but represented the nation’s capital well as the only Abu Dhabi team to reach the semi-finals in either age group.
Khouri was the engine that made the team go, acting as the playma-ker from the point guard position.
He finished tied fourth in the U14s with 64 points and as the only Emirati in the tournament, showed there’s plenty of basketball talent among the local youth.
“I take a lot pride in it because I think I’m the only Emirati player to play in the NSL,” Khouri said.
“[Basketball among Emiratis] is getting much better and I hope after this tournament, in the tournaments to come, there will be more UAE nationals involved.”
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Khouri, who’s eyeing the U16 UAE national team, sta-ted he wants to continue improving, especially his shooting and dribbling, by attending former NBA player Jawann Oldham’s summer camp. He’s also looking forward to playing with point guard Karthik Raj, who led ISC’s U16 team in the NSL, as he steps up to his school’s senior team next year.
“We have an U15 team and I play point guard with Karthik there. He’s a good player and I learn a lot from him,” Khouri said.
ISC coach Stefanita Buzatu witnessed firsthand the development of Khouri in the NSL and is excited to have the duo of dynamic players at his disposal next season.
“One of them has the speed, one of them has the shooting, so I hope I can give them more games to play in,” Buzatu said.
“No matter what, next year I’ll take Khalifa for the senior team. He’ll be 15 and play with the 17 and 18-year-olds because they have more games, so he will improve. It’s my job to do that.”
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