From Australia to Albania, Abdul-Bassit to move pro leagues

August 27, 2017

Jalil Abdul-Bassit basketball

Jalil Abdul-Bassit

There were probably times over the last few months when Jalil Abdul-Bassit of Anchorage thought he was on an island playing professional basketball in Australia.

He finished his rookie season in the Queensland Basketball League as the second-leading scorer at 25 points a game, but he had no idea if his performance had an impact on the hoops world.

It did.

Suitors from all over the world expressed interest in Abdul-Bassit, who ultimately signed with Albania’s Sport Klub Tirana, the defending champion from the country’s super league.

“The competition is going to be a lot better,” he told me. “This league is much more respected and it’s a great opportunity to move up to an even better league in Europe.”

The 6-foot-4 guard averaged 24.8 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 17 games with the Toowoomba Mountaineers. He was inarguably the league’s best player on the worst team as Toowoomba went 1-16 on the season.

Nonetheless, Abdul-Bassit sparkled.

The former University of Oregon standout twice reached the 40-point plateau with 43 and 41, and flirted with a triple-double in two of his three final games down under.

“I’ve gained so much confidence playing Australia just off the fact that I learned the most I’ve ever learned playing basketball,” he said. “Because I had so much on my back and didn’t have any restrictions on my game, it allowed me to make mistakes and learn from them.”

Abdul-Bassit, of East High fame, hopes to expand his role with his new team in Albania.

“I expect they’ll let me play my game and score, but I wanna play more point guard this time around,” he said. “In Australia, the second half of the season, I was playing point and I’m really comfortable playing the position now and I know ultimately if I wanna reach my dream of playing in the NBA I have to be a point guard.

“So, I’m expecting to go in there and do whatever the coach needs me to do. Run the team, score, shut down the best players. Whatever I need to do I’ll do it.”