March Madness: Asia and Oceania players on Tourney Teams

BEIRUT (Lebanon) – The game of basketball is as global as ever. This is well reflected in competitions like the “March Madness” NCAA Tourney where the top colleges in the USA compete against one another.

Among the talents featured on those collegiate teams come from around the world whether it is from the Americas outside of the USA, Africa, Europe, and, of course, Asia and Oceania.

Here, we’ve drawn up a list of players from Asia and Oceania who have already represented their countries in a FIBA competition and are on the teams playing in the upcoming tourney. More likely than not, we’ll be seeing them suit up for their national teams again in the future as well.

Players are listed alphabetically according to their last names.

Alex Ducas – Saint Mary’s Gaels 


Birth: 11 Dec 2000 (age 23)
Height: 199cm / 6’6″
Previous events: Asia Cup 2022, World Cup 2023 Asian Qualifiers, U19 Basketball World Cup 2019

The first player on the list and we already have an Asia Cup champion! The 23-year-old was one of the Boomers in Jakarta for Asia Cup 2022, logging 5 points in the title game.

The Gaels run a balanced rotation that features five players who play at least 25 minutes per game and score at least 10 points per contest. Ducas is one of those players, averaging 10.1 points in 28.0 minutes per contest, while also shooting 44.2 percent from the three-point line.

Ben Gold – Marquette Golden Eagles 


Birth: 23 Apr 2003 (age 20)
Height: 208cm / 6’10”
Previous events: Asia Cup 2022 Qualifiers, World Cup 2023 Asian Qualifiers, U15 Oceania Championship 2018

Gold has made a significant leap this season with the Golden Eagles, nearly doubling his points (from 2.7 to 5.1 points per game) and minutes (from 7.9 to 17.4 minutes per game).

This should come as no surprise to Tall Blacks fans. Gold made a modest senior national team debut with 2 points and 2 rebounds in the Asia Cup Qualifiers and then played for a total of 19 minutes in the First Round of the World Cup Qualifiers for 6 points and 3 boards. In the Second Round, however, Gold took a step forward in two games against Jordan and Saudi Arabia to average 14.0 points and 7.5 rebounds in 21.0 minutes per game.

Rory Hawke – Saint Mary’s Gaels 


Birth: 14 Jan 2004 (age 20)
Height: 194cm / 6’4″
Previous events: World Cup 2023 Asian Qualifiers

As a redshirt freshman, Hawke hasn’t seen too much time on the court for the Gaels yet with only 4.5 minutes per game across 6 games so far. But just like his role with the Boomers, where he played in 31 minutes across 30 games in the World Cup Qualifiers, his team is looking towards the future with Hawke.

Yeo Jun Seok – Gonzaga Bulldogs 


Birth: 19 Mar 2002 (age 22)
Height: 203cm / 6’8″
Previous events: Asia Cup 2022 Qualifiers, OQT 2020 Lithuania, U19 Basketball World Cup 2021, U18 Asia Cup 2018

Yeo is one of Korea’s best up-and-coming prospects, as he’s proved time and again when suiting up for the national team. At the youth level, he shined with 16.2 points and 6.2 rebounds per game at the U18 Asia Cup and stood out even more at the U19 World Cup in 2021 where he led all players in scoring with 25.6 points per contest to go with 10.6 rebounds per game. He’s also been solid with the senior national team, averaging 12.3 points and 4 boards per contest across 3 games in the Asia Cup Qualifiers.

This was his first season playing with Gonzaga, where he’s suited up in 23 games. In one starting role, Yeo scored his season-high of 10 points.

Bruce Kanno – Stetson Hatters 


Birth: 6 May 2003 (age 20)
Height: 195cm / 6’5″
Previous events: U19 Basketball World Cup 2021

Kanno might not be expected to play in the NCAA Tourney, but he found a fair amount of playing time early on in his first season with Stetson.

The forward played for Japan at the U19 World Cup in 2021, averaging 5.6 points in 16.3 minutes for the young Akatsuki Japan.

Tyrese Proctor – Duke Blue Devils 


Birth: 1 Apr 2004 (age 19)
Height: 193cm / 6’4″
Previous events: Asia Cup 2022, World Cup 2023 Asian Qualifiers, Asia Cup 2022 Qualifiers

How many players can say that they’ve won a FIBA Continental Cup before the start of their sophomore season in which they play for a team that could contend for the NCAA title? It’s a short list and Tyrese Proctor is on it.

The Boomer made his debut way back in 2020 in the Asia Cup Qualifiers and played a game in the World Cup 2023 Asian Qualifiers before making noise in the Asia Cup itself by averaging 10.5 points and 3.5 rebounds per game onwards to winning the title. He’s enjoying a season with Duke averaging 10.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists per game and shooting an improved clip from all over the floor at 44.1 percent from the field and 36.5 percent from the three-point line.

Reyne Smith – Charleston Cougars 


Birth: 28 Oct 2002 (age 21)
Height: 186cm / 6’1″
Previous events: U19 World Cup 2021, Asia Cup 2022 Qualifiers, U17 Oceania Championship 2019

Smith has only played in one game for the Boomers so far, but in that lone debut against rivals New Zealand, he certainly made it rain (pun intended) with 22 points.

There’s no surprise about him being a double-digit scorer in all of his three seasons so far with Charleston. This season in particular, he’s scoring career-bests with 12.8 points per game on 41.2 percent field-goal shooting and 39.5 percent three-point shooting.

Keisei Tominaga – Nebraska Cornhuskers 


Birth: 1 Apr 2004 (age 19)
Height: 193cm / 6’4″
Previous events: Basketball World Cup 2023, Asia Cup 2022, World Cup 2023 Asian Qualifiers, U18 Asia Cup 2018, U16 Asia Cup 2017

Tominaga is already one of the most prolific players in Asia considering all that he’s done with Akatsuki Japan from the youth ranks to the senior ranks, highlighted by the recent summer where he helped Japan clinch a spot at the Olympics.

The “Japanese Steph Curry” will now bring his contagious energy to March Madness for the first time as his 14.9 points per game on 37.2 percent three-point shooting helped get the Cornhuskers to the tourney for the first time in 10 years. One of the biggest breakout candidates of the tournament if there was one.

Harry Wessels – Saint Mary’s Gaels 


Birth: 6 Aug 2002 (age 21)
Height: 215cm / 7’1″
Previous events: Asia Cup 2022 Qualifiers

If you weren’t aware, then you should be of the obvious Boomers-Gaels pipeline. There’s always been an Australian on the Gaels roster at least since the turn of the millennium, starting with Adam Caporn to Boomers legends like Patty Mills and Matthew Dellavedova.

This season the Gaels have three Aussies in Wessels along with the aforementioned Ducas and Hawke. Wessels has played in one game for the Boomers so far and has been productive in 9.5 minutes per game for the Gaels with 4.4 points and 3.6 rebounds per game.

Derrick Michael Xzavierro – Grand Canyon Lopes 


Birth: 1 Apr 2003 (age 20)
Height: 203cm / 6’8″
Previous events: Asia Cup 2022 Qualifiers, Asia Cup 2022, World Cup 2023 Asian Qualifiers

Indonesia’s rising star has played in 13 games for the Lopes this season, averaging 1.8 points and 2.1 rebounds per game. Getting the opportunity to experience the March Madness vibes will be more than valuable for the youngster who is expected to be the cornerstone of the national team program – as he’s put on display time and again in the recent years.



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