The first Iranian player to play Division-I hoops on a scholarship, former Rice Owls star Arsalan Kazemi is looking to transfer to a new school. The Oregon Ducks and Kentucky Wildcats are the early favorites for him, and he has also been looking at the Cincinnati Bearcats, Ohio State Buckeyes, and Florida Gators.
According to The Oregonian, “reports are swirling” that Kazemi will choose the Oregon Ducks. He is currently requesting a hardship waiver from the NCAA in order to gain immediate eligibility for the 2012-2013 college basketball season.
If he does and transfers to the Ducks, Oregon would receive an immediate upgrade on rebounds and have a dominant defensive frontcourt with Kazemi and Tony Woods. Add star SF Kyle Singler into the mix, and you have three solid, defensive bigs who can get boards at a high rate. Kazemi averaged a double-double over the past two seasons and was the second best rebounder in the C-USA last season.
The conference leader in PER over the past two seasons, Arsalan Kazemi is one of the most productive players in recent C-USA history. He can star in the Pac-12 with his ability to get steals, block shots, grab boards, and he is an efficient scorer on the inside.
If the reports are indeed correct, then Oregon has just received their second straight big transfer in a row after nabbing Devoe Joseph last season. He led them to an NIT appearance after being in the NCAA tournament discussion, and adding Kazemi could help Dana Altman and the Ducks reach the Big Dance. The Ducks already have one highly talented newcomer in Dominic Artis, and Kazemi would give them a great incoming duo in the backcourt and frontcourt. That’s not even mentioning the fact that Kazemi would be picking Oregon over Kentucky (as well as UF, Cincinnati, and OSU).
We’ll see how things develop, but this is very exciting news for Oregon fans. Let’s see if the reports are true. Sources close to The Register-Guard have said that he has chosen Oregon, so I will excuse myself from the computer and begin my premature celebration.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.