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.
Recap of Superleague Round 2 of Quarter-Finals - 7 hours ago
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Petrochimi - Army 79-70 Petrochemi outgunned Army to open 2-0 lead in the series. Petrochimi shot 60.6 percent from the field. Petrochimi outrebounded Army 28-15 including a 24-9 advantage in defensive rebounds. Army was plagued by 24 personal fouls down the stretch. International center Hamed Haddadi (218-85) orchestrated the victory by scoring 21 points and 5 rebounds (on 8-of-10 shooting from the field). International Oshin Sahakian (200-86) contributed with a double-double by scoring... [read more]
Petrochemi outgunned Army to open 2-0 lead in the series. Petrochimi shot 60.6 percent from the field. Petrochimi outrebounded Army 28-15 including a 24-9 advantage in defensive rebounds. Army was plagued by 24 personal fouls down the stretch. International center Hamed Haddadi (218-85) orchestrated the victory by scoring 21 points and 5 rebounds (on 8-of-10 shooting from the field). International Oshin Sahakian (200-86) contributed with a double-double by scoring 11 points and 10 rebounds for the winners. The former international Navid Farahani (194-88) replied with 13 points and the former international swingman Ashkan Khalilnejad (191-91) added 14 points in the effort for Army. Top scorers: Petrochimi: H.Haddadi 21+5reb+1ast, O.Sahakian 11+10reb+2ast, M.Jamshidi 8+5reb+1ast, B.Yakhchali 5+1reb+2ast, R.Lotfi 5+1reb, H.Hosseinzadeh 4+1reb+1ast Army: A.Khalilnejad 14+3reb, N.Farahani 13+4reb+1ast, V.Dalirzahan 12+2reb+2ast, M.Sheikhi 5+2reb+3ast, M.Tavana 4, M.Torabi 2+1reb
Arak overwhlemed Chemidor to secure 2-0 advantage. The game was mostly controlled by Arak. Chemidor managed to win third quarter 22-21. But it was not enough to take a lead and get a victory that evening. They dominated down low during the game scoring 48 of its points in the paint compared to Chemidor's 16. They outrebounded Chemidor 42-23 including a 31-15 advantage in defensive rebounds. 27 personal fouls committed by Chemidor helped opponents get some easy free throw opportunities. The best player for the winners was Bulgarian Filip Videnov (196-80, college: W.Kentucky, agency: Alti Sport) who scored 19 points and 8 rebounds. International center Asghar Kardoust (212-86) chipped in 20 points and 8 rebounds (on 7-of-9 shooting from the field). American center Robert Upshaw (213-94, college: Washington) produced 13 points and 5 rebounds and his fellow American import guard Daequan Cook (195-87, college: Ohio St.) added 13 points respectively for the guests. The winner was already known earlier in the game, so both coaches allowed to play the bench players saving starting five for next games. Top scorers: Arak: A.Kardoust 20+8reb+2ast, H.Afagh 19+4reb+2ast, F.Videnov 19+8reb+3ast, Q.Hosley 9+4reb+6ast, M.Zarei 7+1reb, P.Khoshdooni 6+3reb+1ast Chemidor: R.Upshaw 13+5reb, D.Cook 13+3reb+1ast, I.Zandi 8+4reb+3ast, A.Sedighi 8+4reb+1ast, P.Kiani 6+3reb+1ast, R.Derghokasian 5+1ast
Azad rallied to the second straight victory in the series. The hosts trailed by 2 points after first quarter, but they rallied back to get the 8-point lead at the halftime and eventually won the game 89-81. Azad outrebounded Tabriz 51-40 including 19 on the offensive glass. Great defensive blocking was one of the keys in this match when Azad made 7 blocks. American guard Dominique Jones (193-88, college: S.Florida) scored 32 points and 7 rebounds to lead the charge for the winners and the former international center Mohammad Yousofvand (207-96) chipped in 14 points and 17 rebounds during the contest. Four Azad players scored in double figures. Croatian guard Hrvoje Puljko (193-83, agency: Mansfield and Associates) responded with 29 points and Sajjad Pazrofteh produced a double-double by scoring 12 points and 13 rebounds. Top scorers: Azad: D.Jones 32+7reb+3ast, F.Sabouri 16+7reb, M.Yousofvand 14+17reb+1ast, A.Armen Allahverdi 10+3reb+1ast, M.Rasoul 7+2reb+1ast, A.James Ogilvy 4+10reb+1ast Tabriz: H.Puljko 29+4reb+2ast, A. Taherkhani 13+6reb+1ast, S.Pazrofteh 12+13reb+2ast, M.Falahat 7+2reb+4ast, S.Reyhani 7+7reb+1ast, V.Hajian 5+1reb+1ast
Naft Abadan topped Kashan to stay victorious in the series. The game without a history. Naft Abadan led from the first minutes and controlled entire game increasing their lead in each quarter. The former international center Meisam Mirzaei (210-92) notched a double-double by scoring 18 points and 11 rebounds to lead the effort and the former international point guard Sajjad Mashayekhi (180-94) supported him with 14 points and 8 rebounds. Even a double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds by the former international center Masoud Soleimani (207) did not help to save the game for Kashan. Majid Salehi-Bozorgi (186-88) added 16 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists for the guests. Top scorers: Naft Abadan: M.Mirzaei 18+11reb+1ast, S.Mashayekhi 14+8reb+2ast, S.Davarpanah 10+5reb+4ast, M.Reza Akbari 9+4reb, M.Hassanzadeh 7+6reb+1ast, F.Aslani 7+8reb+6ast Kashan: M.Soleimani 20+10reb+1ast, M.Salehi-Bozorgi 16+5reb+5ast, M.Rezaei 7+9reb+1ast, M.Khaleghifar 6+7reb+1ast, M.Shahrian 6+6reb+1ast, H.Rahmati 6+2reb+1ast
Recap of Superleague Round 1 of Quarter-Finals - 2 days ago
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Arak - Chemidor 79-69 Arak overcame Chemidor in the quarterfinal series. Chemidor was trailing by 9 points at halftime but managed to get 3-point lead after three quarters before a 26-13 charge of Arak, which allowed them to win the game. Arak shot 29 for 39 from the free-throw line, while Chemidor only scored ten points from the stripe. 30 personal fouls committed by Chemidor helped opponents get some easy free throw opportunities. International center Asghar Kardoust (212-86) fired a d... [read more]
Arak overcame Chemidor in the quarterfinal series. Chemidor was trailing by 9 points at halftime but managed to get 3-point lead after three quarters before a 26-13 charge of Arak, which allowed them to win the game. Arak shot 29 for 39 from the free-throw line, while Chemidor only scored ten points from the stripe. 30 personal fouls committed by Chemidor helped opponents get some easy free throw opportunities. International center Asghar Kardoust (212-86) fired a double-double by scoring 26 points and 10 rebounds for the winners. Bulgarian Filip Videnov (196-80, college: W.Kentucky, agency: Alti Sport) chipped in 20 points and 7 rebounds. The former international forward Amir Sedighi (203-93) produced 17 points and 6 rebounds and K Riaie added 7 points and 11 rebounds respectively for lost side. Chemidor's coach Javad Rahmatipour rotated ten players in this game, but that didn't help. Top scorers: Arak: A.Kardoust 26+10reb+2ast, F.Videnov 20+7reb+2ast, H.Afagh 11+5reb+2ast, Q.Hosley 9+6reb+1ast, A.Davoudi 9+4reb+5ast, H.Sohrabnejad 2+2reb Chemidor: A.Sedighi 17+6reb+1ast, I.Zandi 14+3reb, D.Derghokasian 9+1reb, K. Riaie 7+11reb, D.Cook 6+3reb+1ast, J.Davari 6+4reb+3ast
Naft Abadan outgunned Kashan to take 1-0 lead in the series. The hosts took control from the first minutes by winning first half. But Kashan won third quarter 21-20. However it was not enough to take a lead and get a victory that evening. Worth to mention a great performance of British power forward Ryan Richards (212-91, agency: Three Eye Sports) who helped to win the game recording 18 points and 8 rebounds. International Mohammad Hassanzadeh (203-90, agency: Three Eye Sports) contributed with 6 points and 12 rebounds for the winners. The former international center Masoud Soleimani (207) answered with a double-double by scoring 16 points and 14 rebounds and the former international power forward Hossein Rahmati (203-93) added 16 points and 11 rebounds in the effort for Kashan. Top scorers: Naft Abadan: R.Richards 18+8reb, S.Davarpanah 10+2reb+1ast, E.Salmani 9+2reb, M.Mirzaei 9+5reb, M.Hassanzadeh 6+12reb+1ast, D.Perkins 5+5reb+2ast Kashan: H.Rahmati 16+11reb, M.Soleimani 16+14reb, M.Salehi-Bozorgi 9+2reb+4ast, M.Rezaei 7+5reb+1ast, A.Najafi 4+2reb+4ast, M.Khaleghifar 4+10reb
Azad held off Tabriz to secure the winning start in the series. Azad made 19-of-25 free shots (76.0 percent) during the game. Great defensive blocking was one of the keys in this match when Azad made 8 blocks. American guard Dominique Jones (193-88, college: S.Florida) stepped up and scored 33 points (!!!) and 6 assists for the winners and Irish-Australian center Andrew James Ogilvy (211-88, college: Vanderbilt) chipped in 18 points and 15 rebounds. At the losing side Croatian guard Hrvoje Puljko (193-83, agency: Mansfield and Associates) responded with 38 points (!!!) and 6 rebounds and A Taherkhani scored 9 points and 7 rebounds. Both coaches used bench players which allowed the starters a little rest for the next games. Top scorers: Azad: D.Jones 33+4reb+6ast, A.James Ogilvy 18+15reb+1ast, A.Doraghi 12+2ast, M.Rasoul 9+1reb, A.Baheran 7+2reb+1ast, F.Sabouri 7+4reb Tabriz: H.Puljko 38+6reb+2ast, A. Taherkhani 9+7reb+1ast, S.Reyhani 8+5reb, S.Pazrofteh 7+3reb+1ast, E.Nasajpour 4+5reb+3ast, M.Ghamari 4+6reb+1ast
Petrochemi rallied past Army in the opener. The game was mostly controlled by Petrochimi. Army was better in third quarter 23-20. But it was not enough to take a lead and get a victory that evening. They outrebounded Army 37-26 including a 28-17 advantage in defensive rebounds. 24 personal fouls committed by Army helped opponents get some easy free throw opportunities. International center Hamed Haddadi (218-85) nailed a double-double by scoring 32 points, 15 rebounds and 5 assists for the winning side and Australian power forward Daniel Johnson (210-88, college: Pepperdine) accounted for 15 points. Four Petrochimi players scored in double figures. Petrochimi's coach Mehran Shahintab allowed to play the deep bench players saving starting five for next games. The former international center Mohammad Torabi (211-92) came up with 19 points and 8 rebounds and the former international Navid Farahani (194-88) added 22 points (on 8-of-10 shooting from the field) respectively for Army in the defeat. Top scorers: Petrochimi: H.Haddadi 32+15reb+5ast, D.Johnson 15+4reb+2ast, M.Jamshidi 14+1reb+3ast, B.Yakhchali 12+5reb+1ast, O.Sahakian 5+7reb+1ast, H.Hosseinzadeh 3+1reb+3ast Army: N.Farahani 22+3reb+1ast, M.Torabi 19+8reb+2ast, V.Dalirzahan 10+1reb+1ast, A.Khalilnejad 8+2reb+2ast, A.Kazemi 6+9reb+1ast, M. Rajaei 2+1reb+1ast
Filip Videnov (ex Lukoil Acad.) agreed terms with Arak - 2 days ago
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Shahrdary Arak (Superleague) inked experienced 37-year old Bulgarian small forward Filip Videnov (196-97kg-80, college: W.Kentucky, agency: Alti Sport). He started the season at Lukoil Academic Sofia in Bulgarian NBL league. Videnov managed to play in three leagues this year (!!!). In 15 NBL games he recorded 8.9ppg, 1.9rpg and 2.0apg. Videnov helped them to win the Supercup. He also played 12 games in FIBA Europe Cup where he averaged 9.2ppg, 3.4rpg and 2.4apg. And finally Videnov contri... [read more]
Shahrdary Arak (Superleague) inked experienced 37-year old Bulgarian small forward Filip Videnov (196-97kg-80, college: W.Kentucky, agency: Alti Sport). He started the season at Lukoil Academic Sofia in Bulgarian NBL league. Videnov managed to play in three leagues this year (!!!). In 15 NBL games he recorded 8.9ppg, 1.9rpg and 2.0apg. Videnov helped them to win the Supercup. He also played 12 games in FIBA Europe Cup where he averaged 9.2ppg, 3.4rpg and 2.4apg. And finally Videnov contributed to 2 games in Basketball Champions League where he had 8.0ppg, 1.5rpg and 2.0apg. The last season he played also at Lukoil Academic Sofia (also in NBL). In 28 games he got 11.8ppg, 2.7rpg and 2.2apg. Videnov contributed to his team winning the league title (twice) (also twice). A very good season in his career as he was voted to Eurobasket.com All-Bulgarian League 1st Team, All-Star Game and All-Domestic Players Team. Videnov also played 9 games in FIBA Europe Cup where he got 11.3ppg, 3.7rpg and 3.0apg. Videnov was also a member of Bulgarian international program for some years. He played for Bulgarian Senior National Team between 2002 and 2012 and previously for University National Team back in 2001. Videnov also represented Bulgaria at the Qualifications to European Championships 2013 five years ago. His stats at that event were 8 games: 8.4ppg, 4.3rpg, 4.1apg, FGP: 44.4%, 3PT: 32.4%, FT: 83.3%. Videnov is a very experienced player. He has quite traveled the world as his pro career brought him to ten different countries on three different continents (Europe, Asia and of course North America). Videnov has played previously professionally in Croatia, France, Italy (Napoli J.News), Poland (Asseco), Russia (Krasnie Krilya and BC Nizhny Novgorod), Serbia (Crvena Zvezda), Spain (Baskonia, CB Granada and Gran Canaria), Turkey (Eskisehir Basket) and Iran (Azad). He is close to retirement age as a player. It may be one of last seasons in his extensive career, which he may end at Arak. Videnov attended Western Kentucky University until 2003 and it is his 14th (!!!) season in pro basketball. His game is described as:
Versatile. Can play at both 2 and 3 positions. Strong player with quick feet and good jump abilities. Very athletic and solid, he can drive the line or shot the three, and showed he can produce lots of points at professional level too.
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