PLAY IT AGAIN, SAM
Jan 16, 2017
SAM Daghles is the man who has been given the task of rekindling the fortunes of the national basketball team.
The 37-year-old was the playmaker in the history making side that qualified for the FIBA World Cup in 2010, placing Jordan firmly on the map as a basketball playing nation to be reckoned with.
They may have lost their five group matches in Turkey by only narrow margins, but the future looked bright.
However, five years later and the sport has struggled to recapture those glory days, leading to the federation turning to its former talisman to introduce a spark back into the sport.
“I love basketball which made me want to go through this adventure,” said the 6ft 3in (191cm) playmaker. “With what has happened in the sport lately I felt that I have a duty towards bringing the glory back.
“I feel I have a lot to give to the national team. I have big experience as a player as I played with some of the strongest coaches in the world of basketball. I have learned from them and will bring this experience into the national team.
“I am also very close to the current players as not very long ago I was one of them so I understand their needs and more importantly how to bring the best out of them.”
He has enjoyed some early progress too, moving Jordan to second in West Asia and ninth in Asia. They will certainly fancy themselves at the upcoming West Asian Basketball Championships being hosted by Jordan from January 29.
He has set some high targets, among them qualifying to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and he has certainly travelled the miles to be where he is today.
Following an illustrious college career in the USA, he returned to Jordan to spearhead the successful Fast Link offense resulting in the club winning the Asian Clubs title.
A change was presented to him and four years followed playing in China, before more moves to teams in The Philippines, Iran and Lebanon. He also represented Sharjah twice in the prestigious Dubai International Championship.
But as the years caught up with him, his adopted home was calling once again with a bigger mission to reignite the local scene.
“The foundation of this sport is clubs, and more companies are needed to come in to sponsor them so that they can build their own grassroots and age categories,” he said.
After 11 years on the national team and playing across the world, Sam knows what the formula to success is. Only time will tell if he can find and mix the right ingredients.