There are several key ingredients that make a college basketball program a success. It all starts with the head coach. Oregon’s Dana Altman since he began with the Ducks in 2010 has brought a solid amount of talent to Eugene – aside from the players he inherited. They have taken the program far in just a few years, most recently deeper into the NCAA Tournament than they have been in quite a while. Now Altman can add another ingredient to the success. A player continuing his career at the next level. The NBA.
Thursday night in the 2nd round, former Oregon Duck Arsalan Kazemi was drafted in the 2nd round(54th pick) by the Washington Wizards, becoming the first player to be drafted in the Altman era at Oregon (the first for the Ducks since 2008(Malik Hairston and Marty Leunan). The Ducks leading rebounder this past season is also the first Iranian born player to be drafted and could become the first player ever from Iran to play in the NBA. Kazemi will have the opportunity, but not for Washington. Due of a night of deals, his rights go to the Philadelphia 76ers, who have remade their roster with this draft.
The Sixers traded Jrue Holiday and were able to snag Nerlens Noel, the potential 1st pick of the draft – he likely fell due to knee surgery after playing just 26 games this past season. Philadelphia still has some key players in place including last years pick Evan Turner and Thaddeus Young, last year’s leading rebounder. Kazemi will have a solid shot at making the team as they are clearly in transition and still looking for a new head coach.
Another name that was mentioned on Draft night was E.J. Singler who had several pre draft looks with the Portland Trailblazers. Although he wasn’t drafted he did pick up an invite to the Trailblazers Summer League team. Consider it another audition for Singler, who will likely land on his feet in the NBA somewhere this season. He is too talented not to.
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