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Paul Khoury missed the World Championship with Lebanon - Aug 21, 2006

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Tonga is light-years away from participating to the FIBA World Championship but one of its child could have been playing in Japan. Unfortunatly the tongan-born lebanese player Paul Khoury (207-C-68) will not be there due to visa problems.

Paul Afeaki Khoury (207-C-68) was born in Tonga in April 1968 from american parents, he went to the USA and graduated from Utah University in 1992. He played his first pro season in Turkey before heading to Japan for 5 years. In 2001 he signed a contract with the lebanese team Al Ryadi and three years later he joined Sagesse, the best team in the country. His lebanese years were the best of his career and he was granted by a lebanese passport by the governement.
Khoury has a big body, he's always using his 128kg-frame to muscle his way to the hoop. He's not a go-to-guy but an effective team low post offensive and defensive. He's too slow to compete against the best but he's a great players at the lebanese standarts.
With the Lebanon National Team, Paul Khoury played the 2002 World Championship in Indianapolis. The team didn't manage to win a single game and got the last rank after a 70-100 loss to Algeria in the classification game despite a 16pts 9rbs effort from Khoury. During the tournament, he averaged 6.4pts 56.5%FG 6.0rbs in 19min per game including a 7pts 10rbs game against Turkey and some great players like Mehmet Okur, Hedo Turkoglu and Mirsad Turkcan. Last year, Lebanon secured the silver medal in the Asian Championship with a loss in the final game against Yao Ming's China and Paul was one of the best post player in the tournament.
He should have been an important part of the Lebanon side in the 2006 World Championship in Japan but fate changed his plans. Because of the war in Lebanon, the national team's preparation became more complicated. Because of the chaos, the team wasn't able to bring its manager, conditioning coach and Paul, one of its best players.
"We had practiced five days when the war started," said NT coach Paul Coughter "We saw a window of opportunity to get out and took the last vehicle out of Lebanon and drove 12 hours to Jordan. We practiced five days in Amman, went to Turkey, Slovenia, and the Philippines before arriving here."
Lebanon is playing in the group A with olympic champion Argentina, double-world champion Serbia, France, Venezuela and Nigeria. The team will try to qualify for the second round. Unfortunatly, the 38-year old center Khoury will have to watch it on television.  

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