MANILA, Philippines - Smart Gilas Pilipinas hopes to finally tap American Jared Homan as its candidate for naturalization in time for the team’s stint in the 21st FIBA-Asia Champions Cup in Doha, Qatar next month.
Smart Gilas’ Serbian coach Rajko Toroman said they’re close to getting the 6-10, 250-pound Homan, a former Iowa State standout currently playing for Maroussi in the Greek League.
“We hope we’ll make an agreement with Jared Homan to be our guy for naturalization,” said Toroman during their first practice since returning from their Serbian campaign at the Meralco gym Monday night.
“I was talking yesterday (Sunday) with him and I think he’s positive about our offer in the next 24 hours. We’ll see if we will make an agreement with him,” he said.
Homan played 125 games for Iowa State from 2001 to 2005, averaging 3.6 points on his first year before progressing to 7.1, 11.5, 13.6 points the following seasons.
He later suited up for Maroussi in Greece where he piled norms of seven points in 19 minutes and later played for ASCO Wroclaw where he had an impressive 17.7-point average in just about 25 minutes an outing.
“He’s (Homan) an excellent player. He’s playing in the Euro League in Greece. He’s playing on the highest level and he was very competitive. I think he’s kind of guy who can help us a lot,” said Toroman.
Smart Gilas earlier eyed the likes of talented imports Dwayne Jones, Brian Butch and Earl Barron, who have all joined NBA teams.
Jones, one of Toroman’s top choices, went to the Phoenix Suns while Butch and Barron, a former PBA import, wound up with the Denver Nuggets and the New York Knicks, respectively.
Even Greg Stiemsma, who was last in the team’s short list, ended up being picked up by the Minnesota Timberwolves.
If Smart Gilas and Homan come to terms, the latter is expected to join the Nationals in the Champions’ Cup this May in Doha where they hope to improve on the country’s fifth place finish in Jakarta last year.
The team also hopes to have Homan naturalized in time for this November’s Guangzhou Asian Games.
Smart Gilas is eyeing the top spot in the 2011 FIBA-Asia Championship for a slot in the 2012 London Olympics.