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.
TEHRAN (2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments) - Iran head coach Dirk Bauermann has settled on a 12-man roster for the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) in Turin that has plenty of experience but also promising young talent. The most recognizable of faces from recent times are Hamed Haddadi(218-C-85), Oshin Sahakian, Arsalan Kazemi, Mohammad Jamshidi and Asghar Kardoust. Youngsters that figure to be in the Iran set-up for years to come that will also be present include Behnam Y... [read more]
TEHRAN (2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments) - Iran head coach Dirk Bauermann has settled on a 12-man roster for the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) in Turin that has plenty of experience but also promising young talent.
The most recognizable of faces from recent times are Hamed Haddadi (218-C-85), Oshin Sahakian, Arsalan Kazemi, Mohammad Jamshidi and Asghar Kardoust. Youngsters that figure to be in the Iran set-up for years to come that will also be present include Behnam Yakhchali, who turns 21 on 12 July, Sajjad Mashayekhi (22), Sedighi Amir (turns 23 on 16 July) and Arman Zangeneh (23).
Yakhchali has already played significant minutes for Iran at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup and at last year's FIBA Asia Championship. Iran will play at the OQT against Greece and Mexico in Group A while Croatia, Italy and Tunisia will be in Group B. Only the winner of the event will qualify for the Olympics. Iran went into last summer having won three of the previous four FIBA Asia Championships. They finished third in Changsha-Hunan behind China and the Philippines. They nevertheless showed plenty of skill and determination under coach Bauermann. Iran will be underdogs in Turin. Everyone knows that, including Iran themselves. "Our team is in good shape at the moment but we have a difficult task ahead of us," Iran Basketball Federation president Mahmoud Mashhoun said to the Mehr news agency, as reported in the Tehran Times. "I don't expect to qualify for the Olympics but on the other hand, I believe that nothing is impossible." No matter what happens, Iran's younger players will gain invaluable experience. "We have invited some young players to the national team," Mashhoun said. "I believe that our young players have a bright future. Regardless of the results in the tournaments, they will gain experience and show their capabilities in the next competitions."
Jilin Northeast Tigers (CBA) signed 34-year old Iranian ex-international point guard Mahdi Kamrani (181-78kg-82). He is not a newcomer in China as he played last season at North Control Beijing (CBA). In 34 games he had very impressive stats: 19.3ppg, 4.6rpg, 6.5apg and 2.8spg. The previous (14-15) season Kamrani played at another Chinese team Jiangsu Tongxi. In 35 CBA games he recorded also remarkable stats: 16.4ppg, 3.5rpg, 5.2apg and 2.8spg. In 2013-14 Kamrani spent at Petrochimi (Supe... [read more]
Jilin Northeast Tigers (CBA) signed 34-year old Iranian ex-international point guard Mahdi Kamrani (181-78kg-82). He is not a newcomer in China as he played last season at North Control Beijing (CBA). In 34 games he had very impressive stats: 19.3ppg, 4.6rpg, 6.5apg and 2.8spg. The previous (14-15) season Kamrani played at another Chinese team Jiangsu Tongxi. In 35 CBA games he recorded also remarkable stats: 16.4ppg, 3.5rpg, 5.2apg and 2.8spg. In 2013-14 Kamrani spent at Petrochimi (Superleague) in Iran. In 33 games he recorded 14.8ppg, 3.8rpg, 4.6apg and 2.9spg. He helped them to win the league title. Quite impressive season as he was named to Asia-Basket.com All-Iranian Superleague 1st Team and Honorable Mention. Kamrani also played at Foolad Mahan in Iranian league that season. In 6 Asian Club Championships games he recorded high stats: 20.2ppg, 3.0rpg, 3.8apg and 2.2spg in 2013-14 season. He represented Iran at the Asian Championships in Changsha-Hunan (China) last year. Kamrani's team won Bronze and his stats at that event were 9 games: 8.2ppg, 2.6rpg, 2.6apg, Steals-5 (2.0spg), FGP: 39.6%, 3PT: 28.1%, FT: 60.0%. Kamrani has played previously for two other Iranian teams: Paykan and Saba. He could be described:
An experienced PG, with court vision, passing skills and good defensive attitude. Can score if left open, has great leadership, he could also be effective at uppper level. are ready to play in Europe.
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