Signing my 1st Euro Professional Basketball Contract. Time for the Pros!!

What’s up Guys?

Hope you guys are having a great week. I have really exciting news; I have signed with one of the best professional basketball leagues in the world. I have signed a euro contract with SPARTAK VIDNOYE MOSCOWSKAYA  Pro Club of the Russian Super league. This is a very good euro contract to start my career. The Pro club is based out of the one of the most amazing cities in the world, Moscow, Russia. I want to thank Lithuanian Coach Radvila Rolandis for having confidence in me and having me sign with his club. There is a lot of perks and bonuses involved, which I liked. I can fly anyone I want for a round trip to Moscow, which is sweet. They are also throwing in a car for me, although I don’t know if I want to drive on the wrong side of the road would have to get used to it lol..I am really happy with the contract. I will have my own place in Moscow, which I am excited about as well, it is going to be really nice by the looks of it! Overall, it was just a good fit for me. I had passed on a couple offers in Europe one being in England because I didn’t want to settle. Zain Pro Club was involved as well, which is one of the wealthiest clubs in the Middle East but I just didn’t want to wait and pass on another great opportunity. I respect Zain Pro Club and hopefully one day I can suit up with them as well. I knew I was worth more and continued to hold my standards high. I think you should never settle in anything you do. It was tough for me to let some opportunities go by, but I took a chance and was confident in my ability and the hard work I put in that an opportunity like this would come my way. It has always been a dream of mine to play professional basketball but to play in a fabulous city like Moscow and in one of the best leagues on Earth is amazing.

Signing with Spartak Vidnoye Moscowskaya Pro Club for 2011/2012 Season (Russian 1st Division Superleague)

When I was offered the contract, it kind of took a few minutes to settle in. My parents were the first people I told and they are very proud. I was in tears because it is the exact contract I wanted for my rookie year. It was tough to be patient and was definitely a process but in the end it all paid off.  My whole family has been very supportive of me since I picked up a basketball but always stressed academics first. I am fortunate enough to have a great family behind me and want to thank them.

Saint Basil Cathedral: Moscow, Russia

I leave November 4th, I have been training 5-6 days a week at the gym so I am in shape but this gives me more time to tweek some things and get in even better shape. Now knowing where I’m playing motivates me even more. I am likely going down to Detroit again next week for another 5 day training week with my personal trainer Jamie Stewart of ETBA basketball training. He has really helped me stay on my game and approach it with relentless work. His workouts are no joke. I love to sit in ice baths after his workouts because he pushes me really hard and I appreciate his help.

So my schedule before I leave my city is in and out really. I will be mostly just training and spending time with my family. I have never been to Moscow, Russia before but I know they have one of the wonders of the world in the Kolomna Palace. I am a big fan of seeing the wonders of the world; I have 3 left in the world to see. I love architecture and ancient ruins, it really helps put in perspective the world we lived in and how the magnificence of technology has advanced. I think I better pack a coat though it gets a little cold in Russia. Growing up in Canada has thankfully prepared me for something like this, weather wise lol …I am definitely looking forward to it and having this kind of opportunity my rookie year, it will be amazing to say the least. I am thankful and grateful.

I will be out-of-town this weekend in Toronto for a model project, which is another big opportunity I got scouted for from my pictures appearing in Localiez Magazine. I definitely wasn’t expecting it. I went to a meeting last weekend with Geoffrey Chapman who has been in Vanity Fair Magazine and has worked with Gucci, Givenchy and Dolce and Gabbana. I really went into the interview/meeting confident. He told me he wanted to meet me and knew I had the look but really wanted to see what my personality was like. I was honestly confident because it is not my main passion; basketball is and always has been. I took another chance and went to the meeting. I thought it wouldn’t hurt and now they are sponsoring me for an event this coming weekend to meet with some big time casting directors. Directors who have worked with Whitney Houston and Uma Thurman will be there. So I want to thank him for that opportunity. I think it will be fun and maybe something will come out of it. He sure has a lot of confidence that something will. My only problem would be my availability, since I signed my contract, which lasts until the end of April. Anyways, I am definitely looking forward to the opportunity and have nothing to lose so why not?

Well guys, just wanted to give you this update. I want to thank you guys for your continued support, I really appreciate it! Wish me luck in the next week. I will drop a blog before I leave to Detroit for my training week with Jamie. Anyways have a great week and remember, “The world does not owe you success. But the world gives you plenty of resources and opportunities to create all the success you want.”

Yours in Basketball,

-Imad

I’m coming Home, I’m coming home, tell the world that I’m coming home.

What’s up guys?

Hope your week is going well! I know it has been a couple of weeks since I wrote last but I finally got some time to write. To be honest with you guys as my followers and fans, this week has been the worst week for me in the last 2 years.Even though I always try to make the best of every situation and always stay positive, this week has tested me. Positively, it has made me a stronger person in dealing with different situations by myself both socially and athletically.

Athletically, things have been great. Basketball has been good to me this summer on the court. I think I proved to people and myself that I am an up and coming player. I played well against European professionals and won a tournament championship (King’s Cup) my first week when I left. I think I walked into a winning organization, in the Jordan national team and I was loving it. A bunch of countries and flights later, I stand 5 days before I leave to go back home. Everyone in Canada, U.S and overseas have been asking me what exactly is going on. I appreciated all the concern and inbox messages I received via Twitter, Facebook and email. That is part of a reason why I wanted to do this blog. I can say a bunch of things and explain a bunch of scenarios I have gone through in the last week socially and athletically. I will not be playing in the 2011 Olympic Qualification tournament in China this year. It hurts and it is one of the toughest things athletically I have gone through. It is kind of complicated but not. To think, it has nothing to do with basketball. The technical team here in Jordan have informed me if my paperwork for my passport social number were done, I would be on the first flight heading to the Philipines in a couple of days for training camp then to China. The true problem was my Jordanian passport was missing a governmental identification number, which prevents me from playing in this last FIBA sanctioned tournament. There was 10 days left before the final list of players had to be submitted. The basketball federation in Jordan tried to work diligently to solve this problem, grinding and working with my representation in Jordan. They had a meeting with me and unfortunately, it was a meeting I came away happy about. In all, I settled with a financial agreement that paid me but still was not happy or satisfied. This summer was not about making money. It was about having a chance to compete at the highest level of basketball. I think I did that when I played. The goal was to earn a birth in the 2012 Olympic Games. Yeah in basketball age I am young and yes I have a lot of time but why not now?

This issue can and will be solved, God willing, within the next couple months when I leave Jordan. It is tough, something that has nothing to do with basketball is preventing me from playing basketball, which I was prepared and ready for all summer. I really felt bad, at the same time I knew I had to keep a positive mindset and I have always done that. I did everything I could and performed the way I was supposed to and exceeded expectations. Most of the fans tried to contact me and knew it was hard for me and disappointing to them not to see me with the team on a non-basketball purpose. Overall, it was a win-win situation for me and I am grateful for the opportunity I was presented with and still made the most of it. So thank you again, to the federation and fans in Jordan. thanks for the support and I will be back but until then I am turning my attention from the national team program to my professional career.

My agent and I have been speaking to a few teams and we talked about different options. As I go home in 5 days, I am going home with a clear head and putting the problems and issues not to do with basketball behind me. It isn’t easy at times but you know the type of person you are and I always feel you take any problem, pitfall or bad surprise as a challenge. I challenged myself to do this. Continuing, N.E.T company out of Chicago, who I signed with, has been great. Even though I see a few of my co-professionals signing, it is to clubs in Europe that want them to start early. Could I? Yes. In saying that, I trust my agent. He always looks for the best situation for me and thinks I deserve the best option because I work hard. So now, i am going home concentrating solely on my pro career, which is a feasible decision. After a day of rest at home, which looks like a short time, I will be hitting the gym hard again, preparing for this upcoming season. I am choosing to keep my options open and spend time weighing them as well. This is a big decision for me and I want it to be a good one. In closing, this summer has been great for basketball and I once again enjoyed travelling different parts of the world.  I wanted to leave you guys with this quote from me, don’t let negative circumstances define you and react to it in a way, which will make you move forward.

Yours in Basketball,

Imad Qahwash

Great start to the new chapter in my life

Whats up guys?

Hope all is well with you guys and your having a great start to the week. I got a 5 hour layover in Istanbul, Turkey so I figured I would drop a blog since this is the only free time I’ve had in the last week! We just played in the Aerosvitz Cup in Kiev, Ukraine, which was a good learning experience for our national team and I. We played against some tough, hard-nosed national teams in Estonia, Belarus and Ukraine. We are ranked higher than all of these teams in FIBA rankings but unfortunately rankings don’t mean anything as we lost all three games. We were missing a couple of key players and had some injuries but there is no excuses. I think our team and I learned a lot of things, which we can build on for the FIBA 2011 Olympic qualifying tournament. I was really impressed with the team basketball that was played amongst these teams. It is the best team ball I have ever seen and that includes the NBA. These European teams really complement each other and play for each other. It is beautiful to watch but very difficult to play against. I ended up having a really good tournament for my first debut. In my first game, I was kinda excited and I knew it was going to be tough. I ended up scoring 22 points my first game but most importantly our team did not win. Overall, it was just a good tournament to be a part of. This was my first European basketball tournament and I think I handled it well. I also got the chance to meet Coach Mike “Czar” Fratello. He coaches the Ukrainian national team for Eurobasket 2011. It was nice meeting and chatting with him. I remember seeing him report on the sidelines from many of the NBA playoff games on TNT sports. The Ukrainians had a couple of NBA guys including the Utah Jazz center , Fasenko. I also had the chance to stop in Italy and see one of the wonders of the world, the Colosseum in Rome. I think that was an amazing experience! I have 4 more wonders to go out of 7!

Me at the Colosseum, amazing!

Me and Coach Mike "Czar" Fratello, does all the NBA playoff stuff on TNT Sports and coached in the NBA for years. Closing ceremonies in Ukraine.

King's Cup Champions in Amman, Jordan, beat FIBA World Championship team, Tunisia in the final.

I have a great relationship with all my teammates and coaching staff. I have a good idea about our offense now and have a fair grasp of the triangle offense. I say that loosely, it took Michael Jordan 5 years to master this offense. I am nowhere near to mastering it, I am just trying to run it. At the same time, I have great confidence in it. This type of tournament and this competition will definitely help us as we fly to Taiwan Thursday for the William Jones Cup. The last 4 days have been a grind. We won the King’s Cup in Jordan and after our championship game, we caught a flight right to Ukraine in the middle of the night. I could see our team was exhausted and the exhaustion followed us throughout the tournament. This can only make us stronger though for our upcoming tournaments. I never really get tired and I tend to recover fast but this time I had no time to, it was right back to the next challenge.  The vets on the team have been showing me the way and I appreciate them for that. They are great people and leaders on and off the court.

It was really good to play against this competition and see how we measured up and how I measured up to this competition. I was happy the way I handled it as a rookie. I just want to keep by building on it. It is definitely a different game than college. The competition is better than anything I have seen in college by far. Every player handles themselves as a professional and that’s how it should be. My travel schedule has been crazy since I left Canada. In college, it was fly city to city, state to state, now your flying country to country, continent to continent, it is definitely a big notch up from college. I love this lifestyle and ball so much. College was college and I will never forget the times I had on and off the court but this new chapter has been great so far. I feel like I’ve joined a winning organization and it is important we keep it up. Sitting in Istanbul right now at the airport, I am already anxious to play again but it is important we rest our bodies and get ready for this 17 hour flight to Taipei, Taiwan. This will be a very tough tournament to play in. I think you have to be mentally and physically strong. It is 8 games in 8 days against good competition, one of the teams have already made it to the Olympic Games in 2008 (Iran). We play them the second game, which is going to be another battle. Our technical manager told me there should be some coverage on ESPN3 for those of you watching from the states. I am really looking forward to this tournament. It is important to take this serious but at the same time have fun with it and use it to prepare for what could be the biggest tournament of my life in September, the FIBA Olympic Qualification tournament. In saying that, I have enjoyed my time thus far with the national team. I have learned so much already from Coach Baldwin both on and off the court in looking at things. It is really amazing to learn from a coach like that. He really cares about our team and I trust in him and the system. Anyways, I am about to catch a snack at this cafe and maybe play some cards or something. The cologne at this duty-free beside me is luring, I may have to check that out! Haha. This new chapter has been great so far and I am grateful for this opportunity and thank God. My teammates and I are working really hard. Remember hard work never goes to waste. In a couple of days, Localiez will be releasing the magazine spread/story I did a month ago. I will definitely post that on my facebook and twitter  for you guys.  I really enjoyed that interview and shoot, I want to thank them again for the opportunity. Thanks again to all my supporters everywhere it means a lot and I only hope to keep getting better in anything I do with your support. Follow me on twitter @iqahwash20 or the website www.iqahwash20.com/

Anyways, Hope everyone’s week goes well!

Yours in basketball,

Imad

Going back to the Kingdom!

Whats  up guys?

Hope everyone is having a great week so far! The last 24 hours for me have been really good as I have been invited to join the Jordan National Team for my 4th year in a row. I am really looking forward to this opportunity as it is our qualifying year for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England. It is kinda funny because everyone I talk to at home are saying if we qualify they are flying out to London to support me. That means a lot coming from teachers, coaches and peers to hear that kind of support. Everyone who I have talked means well and I want to personally say I appreciate the support especially from the Grand River faculty as well as Central Arkansas faculty. I will always definitely look back at my college years as enjoyable ones but now it is on to the next chapter, next step, next dream.

I leave to the Kingdom of Jordan in 2 days and I couldn’t be more excited to represent this nation on a world stage in international competition. I have been working really hard and am grateful for this opportunity the Jordan Basketball Federation has presented me. My mother will also be there visiting family, she left a week ago and I look forward to seeing her there as she is going to watch me for the first time play basketball since my freshman year in college. This time it is on an international stage, so it means a lot. The Jordanian fans have been great and I can’t wait to get over there and realize what their support is really about. The arena will be packed and I am sure I will be swamped when I head over there. I love interacting with kids, especially kids who look up to the national team players, means a lot. I felt like I was one of those kids itching to get better any way I could.

I am really confident going into this years team. It’s a mix of veterans and younger players. They always tease me that I am the baby of the team but I am really looking forward to playing with them and learning from one of the best point guards in the world and on this side of the planet, Sam Daghlas. Everytime I go over throughout my college career, I always soak up as much advice as I could from Sam and it has paid off. People are looking to me to take over when he is done and lead the future of Jordan basketball. That would honestly be amazing to be considered one of the best Point guards in Euroasia/Middle east, definitely an honor and a goal of mine. Our coach is Tab Baldwin, who has been to 2 Olympic Games and has recently coached the New Zealand National Team to the FIBA World Championships. He is originally from Jacksonville, Florida and has coached on the NCAA Division 1 level, so he knows the level of competition I will be coming from and succeeded from.

In any way, I am looking forward to playing for him and le

Sam Daghlas is one of the best point guards in the world and Euroasia right now, looking forward to learning from him as a rookie. Plays pro in the CBA in China one of the best leagues in the world. Played in the NBA D-league as well.

arning the triangle offense. This offense may sound familiar because former Laker coach Phil Jackson ran it with them and the Chicago Bulls. So right now after I am done writing this I am back to studying this offense and watching some gametape. I feel super focused and ready to go. I got to wake up tomorrow at 6 am for a run then head to the gym after that for a shooting workout with one of my coaches. I am preparing this way because Thursday will be a travelling day for me as well as early Friday morning. I want to be fresh and ready to go. I will arrive Thursday for the King Abdullah Cup but will sit out the first few games to get acclimated with the team and learn the offense, which is important from the point guard position,which I will be learning in practice. The sooner I learn it the faster I am on the court and ready to play. I feel bad for the next person I have to guard or has to guard me because I am simply going to go after him from the get go and not let off at all. My American friends and teammates from the U.S will probably get a chance to see me play on ESPN this summer as the William Jones Cup in Taiwan will be broadcasted on the host of networks. I am pretty sure it is ESPN Deportes, which is easy to access.

Well guys, I am off to bed, I got a long day ahead of me tomorrow and will definitely drop another blog when I arrive in Jordan, my flight arrangement looks like this HOME–>Chicago–>Italy–>Amman, Jordan.

Schedule looks like this for the summer:

*King Abdullah Cup (Amman, Jordan): July 21-26

*Ukraine International Cup (Ukraine): July 29-31

*Russia International Tournament: (Moscow, Russia) August 7-9

*William Jones Cup (Taipei, Taiwan): August 15-23 **(BROADCASTED ON ESPN Deportes) **

**FIBA Asia Championships 2011** (Qualification Tournament): China (September 15-25)

Possible Camp in the U.S in between.

Have a great week and wish me safe travels to the kingdom!

Yours in basketball,

Imad Qahwash

Maintaining and seeing old faces…

Hey guys,

Firstly, I want to thank everyone for their support in the launching of my website (www.iqahwash20.com/). I am glad to see people liked it here in Canada, U.S and around the world. I am very appreciative and grateful for how it turned out, so thanks again!

This week has been all training at the gym and spending some time with family because it will be a long time before I see them again. As much as I want to spend all my time preparing for a busy summer of basketball and travelling, I have realized it is important to soak up some family time up as well. Recently, I have just been training at the gym nearby getting up alot of shots and lifting. I have really concentrated on my core and keeping my % body fat down, which will play a big role this summer, regarding performance. I have also been stretching to prevent any injuries in the future. I started to train with my old track coach in highschool, Coach Galasso, who has great workouts to maintain leg strength and working on imbalances in muscle movement. It has been great to work with him and I feel like cross training is important in any sport you do.

Also, I have seen a lot of friends and old coaches that have followed me and supported me all throughout college, that in itself means a lot to me and really motivates me. I recently attended my alma mater’s athletic banquet, Grand River Collegiate Highschool. I have great memories at Grand River Collegiate and attending their athletic banquet was great! I attended the athletic banquet because my little brother, who is a senior there, received Senior Athlete of the Year and basketball MVP, which I was very proud of. It brought back great memories and I enjoyed seeing old faculty I haven’t spoken with in 5 years! It seems like everyone I talk to around my city I haven’t seen in 4 or 5 years. I think it’s because all the travelling in the summers and playing basketball all year round. I don’t really have time to come home much. I think one has to make sacrifices to do great things, it is not easy, but I think it will pay off in the long run.

Coach Medensky (Left) and Coach Galasso (Right) taking a picture with me at the Grand River athletic banquet. Good coming back as a former Renegade!

I am writing this at the start of the week and just ran 8 km! I like running in the evenings when it is really cool outside. So I am kinda drained but I want to implement a long run like that at least twice a week. Usually for me, sprints at different intervals are more beneficial in my sport.  This week is an exciting week for me, I received a phone call from a reporter at Localiez Magazine (http://www.localiez.com/), which is a high-end magazine in located in Toronto and covers the surrounding regions as well. I am pretty excited about it, it is for the July/August issue. I have this shoot and interview in downtown Toronto in the middle of the week. So wish me luck guys, I am looking forward to it. I have been in contact with the Jordan National team program and it looks like I will be leaving very soon for that. I have played for them the last 3 summers. We have a chance to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England. I look forward to joining them and having this great opportunity, which I am very thankful for. I will be posting my summer schedule in the upcoming blogs. Anyways I am really happy about how things are going and I want to thank everyone again for their support especially my family. Again, I hope everyone has a great week!  “Always strive to be the best!” 

Yours in basketball,

-Imad Qahwash

The Launch of www.iqahwash20.com/ !!

Hey guys,

This is my first blog, I am writing to you guys from Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. I am currently at my house right now getting ready to watch the NBA Finals, I think Miami is going to take this one. I just traveled back from Conway, Arkanasas, where I just finsihed my Sr season and graduated with my degree.

I am really happy with my website, which launched tonight. I want to thank everyone for their support in canada and the U.S and well… overseas well! I want to thank Mike Naiditch, my agent, for helping meout as well Perfective Designs and Roee Gold, who hasdone a great jobfor me another clients, as i can tell from his website. On the site you can navigate a bunch of things including stats, videos, pictures, interviews, articles and viewing this daily blog that I will do on a regulkar basis wherever I am inthe world.

Once again want to thank everyone for the support and enjoy www.iqahwash20.com/!

Looks like i am going to have another busy and important summer with the national team program stay tuned!

-Imad