Here we have a catch-up interview with Behdad Sami (183-G-86, college: Linn Benton CC), who became the worlds first pro Iranian basketball player to play at any level in the USA when he signed with the Georgia Gwizzlies back in 2007. Since then, Behdad has played professionally in 4 countries as well as a couple other stints in the American Basketball Association, and NBA-DLeague workout camps prior to playing in Portugal last season.
How has your career progressed since it began in 2007?
Well, it has definitely been a tough road. No one sees the underdog story and especially what happens behind the scenes. Everyone always sees NBA players and it looks so magical, yet no one pays attention to the sacrifices, dedication, and tough route us overseas ball players take. Its not easy to just get up and leave, and be gone 6-9 months out of each year, but I do it to eventually reach my main goal of the NBA. Ive had some bumps in the road but I cannot complain. Im living my dream of playing basketball for a job, travel the world, and meet people who I consider friends, that I would have never knew existed.
What happened in Portugal? You started the season on a high note, but comparing stat wise to your previous years, it wasnt as good of a season.
Portugal was a roller coaster ride for me. I came in to a team who had just been moved up to the pro league. I wanted to bring all the leadership and skill to help them win as many games as possible. Prior to coming to Portugal, I was having difficulties with my shin, what I assumed was shin splits. Starting the season, I had a couple great games. I felt very comfortable with how I was playing and my stats at the beginning. As the season went on, my shin got progressively worse and it was to the point that before each game and practice, I was taking 4-6 ibuprofens each practice/game day. My shin started heavily affecting my gameplay. There were moments where I couldnt even jump a couple inches off my right leg. However, despite all the pain I was in, I practiced and played everyday and still gave my all. I dont make excuses for my gameplay, and I will admit, I had a bad season last year, but what basketball player hasnt had a bad season? Im looking forward to playing next season and playing the way I know I can, which is at the highest level.
Why didnt you play this 2011/12 season, any specific reason?
YES!!! Besides the NBA lockout domino effect, the main reason I couldnt play is my shin. As I mentioned before, my shin was terrible while I was in Portugal. Little did I know that the ENTIRE season in Portugal, I was playing on a broken shin! When I got back to Los Angeles, I went to one of the best soft tissue specialist in the nation and after a couple MRIs, CT-Scans, and X-rays, the results showed that I not only played my entire season in Portugal on an actual broken shin, but had 5-8 individual stress fractures to go along with it. The worst part was finding out that I could have actually snapped my shin in half and ended my career, thank God that didnt happen. Im currently being treated everyday and doing major physical therapy getting myself back to 100%. Due to this injury, I had to turn down deals from Germany, Mexico, and a couple other countries this last year. I didnt want to play and risk not only having a bad season, but having a career ending injury.
So what are your plans now? What will you do once your shin is healed?
The most important thing is that Im 100% healthy before I contact agents and teams. I want to be able to give them 100% of me and not be limited to what I can do. Im currently feeling better everyday and will be season ready by July and I plan on making a huge comeback, not only for myself, but for my career. I dont like the stats I put up last year especially when I know I can play 10x better than that, broken shin or not. My goal is to get signed to a high level team, and do what I know I can, which is help lead my team to victory. I plan to keep working hard and taking it day by day until I get my chance to get back out there and eventually get to the NBA stage.
Guizhou (NBL) signed experienced 35-year old American swingman David Young (196-81, college: N.C.Central). He played last season at Samen in Iranian Superleague. In only one game he recorded very impressive stats: 16 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists. In 2004 Young was drafted by Seattle SuperSonics (NBA) in second round (41st overall). He attended N.Carolina Central and it will be his 13th (hopefully lucky) season in pro basketball. Young won Japanese JBL Superleague championship title in... [read more]
Guizhou (NBL) signed experienced 35-year old American swingman David Young (196-81, college: N.C.Central). He played last season at Samen in Iranian Superleague. In only one game he recorded very impressive stats: 16 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists. In 2004 Young was drafted by Seattle SuperSonics (NBA) in second round (41st overall). He attended N.Carolina Central and it will be his 13th (hopefully lucky) season in pro basketball. Young won Japanese JBL Superleague championship title in 2009. He is quite experienced player. Young has played in nine different countries on four different continents (Europe, Asia, Latin America and of course North America). He has played previously professionally in Dominican Rep., France (Pau-Lacq-Orthez), Greece (Trikalla and A.G.O Rethymno Aegean), Hungary (Atomeromu), Italy (Banco di Srd and Scafati), Puerto Rico (Manati), Japan (Aishin Sea Horses), China (Jilin Tigers) and Dominican Republic (Caneros de La Romana). It's very possible he may end his playing career at Guizhou. Young could be described:
An explosive scorer on the inside and outside who can be a solid contributor. Defends very well has great attitude and toughness. The night he's really hot, he can dominate the game.
In the first game of the second day in Turin Mexico won the challenge against Iran 75-70, obtaining two decisive points to reach the semifinal round. The American team started really good the game with a 15-2 partial, but Iran remained in contact despite the -10 of the first half. In the final quarter the Asian team completed an amazing comeback, with 4 points of advantage in the last minutes of the game. It was not enough to win the match, with the experience of his players Mexico ripped... [read more]
In the first game of the second day in Turin Mexico won the challenge against Iran 75-70, obtaining two decisive points to reach the semifinal round. The American team started really good the game with a 15-2 partial, but Iran remained in contact despite the -10 of the first half. In the final quarter the Asian team completed an amazing comeback, with 4 points of advantage in the last minutes of the game. It was not enough to win the match, with the experience of his players Mexico ripped the ticket for the next round, while Iran closed the experience with 2 defeats. Tomorrow Greece vs Mexico will assign the first place in group A.
For the winners great performance of Francisco Cruz (190-G-89, college: Wyoming), top scorer with 18pts. Important also the help of the Hornets player Gutierrez (15pts), and the points from Stoll, Mendez and Toscano. Across for Iran really great game for Yakhchali with 20pts, 12pts and 8reb from Haddadi and losing effort also of Kazemi, Hassanzadeh and Jamshidi.
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