The Professional: Q&A with Central Arkansas, Imad Qahwash

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Kitchener, Ontario native Imad Qahwash end his NCAA career at Central Arkansas after playing for former Arkansas Razorback and NBA player, Corliss Williamson (Sacramento Kings, Toronto Raptors, Detroit Pistons, Philadelphia 76ers).

Despite Qahwash’s team struggles, he declares a farewell to a very solid NCAA career; recording averages of 12.7 points, 3 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1 steal as a senior. While one door closes shut, another opens up as it is now time for this Bear to make the leap to the pro ranks!

I would like to thank Imad for taking the time to give NPH an inside look at his future endeavours. Read along and you will discover this individual’s many accomplishments, with many more to come!

Without no further a due, Imad Qahwash…

What does your senior year mean to you…what has your focus been for your final year at Central Arkansas?

My senior year has meant a lot to me since I started playing as a freshman; I knew that this would be an important year for me on and off the court. I also knew my last year would lead me to different opportunities to play professional basketball. I was really focused this summer playing overseas and training here in the United States when I was taking summer school in Arkansas. I was a gym rat and was in the gym any spare time I had and I think it paid off as I improved immensely. I am still not satisfied and still have work to do. My focus for this final year at Central Arkansas was to ultimately get to the 2011 NCAA March Madness Tournament, unfortunately that won’t happen but that doesn’t mean a year has been wasted, I enjoyed the presence of my teammates and Coach Williamson, coach has really taught me different ways to approach the game and I think it has made me even more focused.

Playing for a struggling team, what is your mindset going into each game? What is your motivation?

It is tough playing for a struggling team but adversity and a challenge is something I thrive on. I always look to myself to see how I can make myself better to help the team win. All I can do is come every night and play my heart out, which I think I’ve done each game. My mindset in each game doesn’t change, it is always to WIN. At the same time, with our team’s struggles I have carried the bulk of the scoring. I always try to have a focused and positive mindset going into the game. I usually just picture myself playing the game already. The moves I could make, I visualize myself making shots and making plays. I have always been a self-motivator, so I am always motivated. My motivation is that I am playing for my family and my legacy as a basketball player. I’ve always wanted to leave it all on the court every game and I think that motivates to strive to be the best that particular game.

imad3.jpgWhat is the status on your involvement with the Jordanian National team?

My involvement is still there with the Jordanian National Team. I have always enjoyed my time in the summers participating with the team. It has helped me so much in learning how to expand my game and ultimately gain the experience playing against great professionals around the world. I plan on playing for them this summer, as we try and qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England. I think I can definitely help them achieve that. I have learned a lot about myself and from my national team teammates who have really mentored me to become a good pro. I look forward to participating with the national team this summer and really putting forth a great effort with their world championship program.

How about one day playing for the Canadian National team? Has that ever crossed your mind?  Imagine that, what a rare feat that would be, to play for two different countries!

Yeah that would be a great feat, but unfortunately you can’t participate with a national team once you have played in any FIBA sanctioned event. Technically, I can still play for the Canadian National team by the rules, but right now I am happy with my situation in Jordan, which had given me the opportunity first when I was just a freshman in college. I have talked to Head Coach Leo Rautins a few times and even bumped into him in Dallas at the airport, he has nothing but luck for me, but I would entertain it if the opportunity came my way depending on the situation of the Jordan National Team. Nonetheless, I have the utmost respect for both world championship national team programs.

You mentioned you had a crazy week and that it was basketball related…care to share?

Yeah, it has been a really busy and crazy week. A lot of people are inquiring about my plans when the season ends and are curious what I am going to do. At this point in my career with two games left in my NCAA career, I have been getting a lot of pro interest and attention from pro agents. At the same time I am keeping a level head about it all, but it is also an exciting time, to weigh your options and see which opportunities would be best for you. It is an important decision but it is very exciting to see your hard work pay off. Right now I am looking to close out my college career the best way I can and then deal with the professional aspect of my career, which is the next step!

What’s next on the plate for Imad Qahwash with life after university?

I will be playing professional basketball and succeeding. I always strive to be the best I can be on and off the court; I will be graduating in May with my Bachelors of Sciences degree in Physical Therapy. My brother, Alaa Qahwash, is actually a Doctor of physical therapy and after basketball I look forward to working with him. God willing, there will be great things ahead but you only get, what you put in. Hard work and dedication on and off the court will ultimately help me succeed as a person and a player.

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I want to thank NorthPoleHoops.com for giving me the opportunity to share what is going on with me and I was very excited to see a website like this cover Canadian basketball! I want to shout to all my family and friends back home in Kitchener, Ontario and everyone who supports me in Canada.

I also want to thank everyone who has stuck with me: especially my brother Alaa Qahwash and Katie Forbush. Both very special people to me who have been there through this whole phase in my college career. Thank you!

Photo Courtesy: Central Arkansas Athletics

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