NxGn: Here is Pick Number 8 In Our Shortlist-Lebanese Basketball
04 Mar.2017– Our Lebanese Basketball history has been marked by many PGs that changed the game and gave it a special flair. Whether it was Bader Maki with his speed and defensive brilliance or Rony Fahed with his dagger threes and leadership on the floor, playmakers are not to be overlooked. Some emerging talents are trying to leave their fingerprints on the game so they can be remembered among the greats. One of them is our Pick number 8 on the Top 10 U22 shortlist, Albert Zeinoun.
He started playing Basketball at the age of 11 at Kahraba Club under the supervision of Coach Sarkis Korjian. Albert showed great understanding of the game as his will to develop and progress allowed him to absorb everything coaches threw at him like a sponge.
Hoops then attracted the young PG as he spent 7 years (2006-2013) in their formation centers shaping up to be one of the best playmakers of his generation. His coach, Rabih Francis marked him while growing up. He always had his back and pushed him time after time while Albert was down. A man who is inventing himself needs someone to believe in him, Francis was here to make sure Albert didn’t fall back.
At the age of 17, Albert had his D1 debut with Hoops (2012-2014). A flourishing talent that was trying to rise up to the challenge and show that he can take on the best in the game. In 2015, Albert packed his bags and spent a short spell in Tadamon Zouk. Yet it was in 2016 when Albert really exploded and was one of the main reasons why Mayrouba won the second division title and got promoted to D1 this year. AZ is definitely one of the most athletic players out there with lightening speed and a vertical jump worthy of slam dunk contests. Albert is a lockdown defender with a great sense of feeling the floor giving him an advantage to intercept many passes, grab rebounds and push on the break. His passing skills are also well noted, finding his team mates to dish those dimes.
As you would have expected, Albert did wear the colors of the U16 National Team under coach Joe Mojaes (2010-2013). Mojaes played a role in shaping him up. Growing up, Albert was always the shortest player on court so before a game in the Asian Championship in 2011, coach Joe sits down with Albert, looks right in his eyes and tells him:” Albert you’re one the most talented players I know, who have heart, so just play with your heart and everything will be ok.” One game marked Albert while playing for Lebanon and it was back in 2010 during WABA. Albert had his best performance in the return stage versus Iran where we needed a win to advance to Asia.He hit a clutch shot in the end to put us up by 1 and finished the game with 18pts 11 assists and 10 steals. Ice in his veins!
So some of you may be intrigued about the pink shoes Albert wears every game. Here’s the story behind it. Unfortunately, Albert’s uncle was diagnosed with cancer. Feeling helpless back then, Zeinoun found the perfect way to support his uncle and so bought those pink sneakers. While he was harassed on social media, Albert kept his focus on the game as his subliminal message was greater than those empty words. Sadly, his uncle passed away but Albert keeps on wearing the same shoes as he tries to support everyone who’s in pain in his own fashion.