Arsalan Kazemi

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Arsalan Kazemi
ارسلان کاظمی
Kazemi Arsalan croped.jpg
No. 14 – Chongqing Soaring Dragons
Position Power forward
League Chinese Basketball Association
Personal information
Born (1990-04-22) 22 April 1990 (age 25)
Isfahan, Iran
Nationality Iranian
Listed height 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m)
Listed weight 226 lb (103 kg)
Career information
High school The Patterson School
(Lenoir, North Carolina)
College Rice (2009–2012)
Oregon (2012–2013)
NBA draft 2013 / Round: 2 / Pick: 54th overall
Selected by the Washington Wizards
Pro career 2013–present
Career history
2007–2008 Zob Ahan Isfahan (Iran)
2013–2014 Petrochimi Bandar Imam (Iran)
2014–present Chongqing Soaring Dragons (China)
Career highlights and awards
  • 2007 U-17 WABA Championship (MVP)
Stats at

Arsalan Kazemi Naeini (Persian: ارسلان کاظمی‎; born April 22, 1990) is an Iranian professional basketball player currently playing for the Chongqing Soaring Dragons of the Chinese Basketball Association. He played his college basketball for the Oregon Ducks and the Rice Owls basketball teams. He was the 54th overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft by the Washington Wizards, becoming the first Iranian to be drafted into the league. Soon afterwards, Kazemi was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers.

He was the captain of the Iranian under-18 national basketball team and has previously played for Zob Ahan Isfahan in the Iranian Basketball Super League at the age of 17 before travelling to the United States in February 2008.[1]



Kazemi received scholarship offers from Maryland, Seton Hall, Oklahoma State, Missouri, Nebraska and Rice. On 1 November 2008, Kazemi committed to play for Rice University. He became the first Iranian national to play Division I basketball. He was a member of McMurtry College at Rice University.[2][3] [4]


Kazemi averaged 10.3 ppg and 9.1 rpg in his first season at Rice.[5] Kazemi was named in the Conference USA (C-USA) All-Freshman Team alongside NBA drafted Hassan Whiteside.[6]


As a sophomore Kazemi was picked by the league's coaches to the pre-season all C-USA 2nd team. Kazemi got off to a fast start averaging 17.5 points and 11.14 rebounds in the first 14 games of the season, before conference play started. He recorded nine total double double's in the first 14 games, which included a 26 point and 14 rebound game against Miami in the ACC [7] and a 19 point and 17 rebound game against LSU in the SEC.[8] In the weeks of December 27, 2010 and January 3, 2011 Kazemi was named C-USA player of the week becoming the first and only player to receive the honor two weeks in a row for the 2010-2011 season.[9] Kazemi didn't miss a beat when entering conference play putting up a career high 28 points in the team's first conference game of the season against Tulane University on January 5, 2011.[10] Kazemi would get another career high against Tulane, this time grabbing 19 rebounds on February 2, 2011.[11] Kazemi finished conference play with 8 more double double's. Some notable games included a 28 point 13 rebound game against Tulane, a 17 point 13 rebound game against University of Houston, a 21 point 16 rebound game against SMU, and a 24 point 18 rebound game against SMU again. Kazemi finished up C-USA play with 9 double double's (including the conference tournament) and a conference average of 13.6 points and 10.9 rebounds. This brought his season total of double double's to 18, which placed him in the top ten among all of active Div I players.[12] His play in Conference USA earned him a spot on the All Conference 2nd team just as predicted in the pre-season.[12] Kazemi averaged 15.2 points and 11 rebounds having a total of 487 points, 120 offensive rebounds, 231 defensive rebounds making a grand total of 351 rebounds on the year. In only two years at Rice Kazemi had scored 797 points and grabbed 623 rebounds.

The all-conference team was not Kazemi's only honor in the 2010-2011 season. To go along with his 2 time player of the week and all conference team, Kazemi was named to the all National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) all-district second team for district 11 along with Aaron Johnson from UAB and Will Barton from Memphis.[13] Later Kazemi was named to the NCAA all-international first team that included Tristan Thompson from Texas and Nikola Vučević from USC.[14] Kazemi made one more all-district team, this one being the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) All-District VII team. The team also featured 2010 C-USA player of the year Randy Culpepper from UTEP, the Big 12's all time leading scorer LaceDarius Dunn from Baylor, and Jordan Hamilton from Texas.[15] Kazemi would be honored one more time by the USBWA. They gave him the 2010-2011 Most Courageous Award. Kazemi became the third recipient of the award. Dave Rose, the coach of BYU, and Kelvin Davis of San Diego State were the other two winners in years past.[16]


After his junior year, Kazemi transferred to the University of Oregon.[17] He was granted a hardship waiver by the NCAA over Rice's objections, meaning that he could play immediately, without needing to sit out a year. Kazemi was granted a hardship waiver by the NCAA in light of alleged discrimination that he experienced while a member of the basketball team at Rice. According to Kazemi's application for a hardship waiver, Rice Athletic Director Rick Greenspan allegedly made derogatory remarks to Kazemi, his teammates, and an assistant coach, Marco Marcos. One of Kazemi's teammates, Omar Oraby, was granted a hardship waiver as well and was able to play for the University of Southern California immediately. Subsequently, Marcos was fired and has since filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging the existence of a hostile work environment at Rice, although Morcos has failed to produce any evidence of such treatment. Kazemi would not comment on the hardship waiver and Rice has categorically denied the allegations.[18] The hardship waiver claims made by Kazemi and Oraby were not investigated by the NCAA, which granted the waivers over Rice's objections.

Kazemi had a successful senior season with Oregon, and averaged nearly a double-double in points and rebounds.[19] He led the Ducks to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Men's Basketball Championships, in those 3 games he averaged 15 rebounds, 10 points, and 2.3 assists a game. The Ducks were knocked out by the eventual winners, the Louisville Cardinals.


As captain of the Iranian under-19 team, Kazemi led the Iranian national team with 16.6PPG, 12.2RPG and 3 assists to become the teams highest scorer at the FIBA Under-19 World Championship 2009 in Auckland, New Zealand.[20]

Kazemi was initially called up to the national senior team in August 2010 for the Stanković Cup, ahead of the much anticipated 2010 FIBA World Championship. Kazemi went on to be Iran's second leading scorer in the competition after Hamed Haddadi with an average of 12ppg, 7.4rpg and 2.8spg.[21]

Following impressive performances Kazemi received much praise amongst international media.[22] SLAM Magazine rated Kazemi as one of the top 5 NBA Draft prospects competing in the tournament.[23]

College Stats[edit]

2009–10 Rice 30 21 27.9 .530 .000 .610 9.1 1.2 1.6 0.9 10.3
2010–11 Rice 32 30 29.8 .525 .000 .720 11.0 1.3 1.2 0.8 15.2
2011–12 Rice 33 32 29.4 .594 .000 .681 10.3 2.1 2.1 1.0 12.1
2012–13 Oregon 35 27 28.8 .587 .000 .682 9.9 1.4 2.1 0.6 9.3


Kazemi was drafted by the Washington Wizards with the 54th pick in the 2013 NBA draft. He was subsequently traded to the Philadelphia 76ers. Kazemi is the first Iranian-born player to be drafted by an NBA team.[24] After his trial, Sixers General Manager Sam Hinkie said “He would get a chance to work on his game somewhere else for a year, then [we] would have the opportunity to reassess where he is later.”[25] Under current NBA rules, Philadelphia retains the rights to Kazemi, and if he goes overseas to play he would not count against their salary cap for the upcoming season.

Iran Super League[edit]

Kazemi elected not to sign a contract with the 76ers, and went back to his native Iran, to play Petrochimi Bandar Imam. The 76ers hold the rights to Kazemi and can sign him at the end of the current NBA season.

Chinese League[edit]

On September 29, 2014 he was signed by the Chongqing Soaring Dragons of the Chinese Basketball Association.[26]

2013-14 Petrochimi 19 19 28.3 .591 .000 .576 11.1 1.5 2.2 0.7 13.1

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "پديده بسكتبال ايران به آمريكا رفت!". 
  2. ^ "Arsalan Kazemi Profile". Retrieved 8 October 2010. 
  3. ^ "Arsalan Kazemi Profile". Retrieved 8 October 2010. 
  4. ^ "NCAA's first Iranian hoopster heads to Rice". Daily News (New York). 1 November 2008. Retrieved 8 October 2010. [dead link]
  5. ^ Arsalan Kazemi  #14  F. "Arsalan Kazemi Stats, News, Photos - Rice Owls - ESPN". ESPN. Archived from the original on 19 November 2010. Retrieved 8 October 2010. 
  6. ^ "Kazemi Named to C-USA All-Freshman Team - RICE OFFICIAL ATHLETIC SITE". 9 March 2010. Retrieved 8 October 2010. 
  7. ^ "Owls Fall to Hurricanes 73-67 - RICE OFFICIAL ATHLETIC SITE". 22 December 2010. Retrieved 13 April 2011. 
  8. ^ "Rice Holds On To Beat LSU 74-68 - RICE OFFICIAL ATHLETIC SITE". 29 December 2010. Retrieved 13 April 2011. 
  9. ^ "Kazemi Earns Second Consecutive C-USA Weekly Honor - RICE OFFICIAL ATHLETIC SITE". 3 January 2011. Retrieved 13 April 2011. 
  10. ^ "Rice Falls to Tulane 85-81 - RICE OFFICIAL ATHLETIC SITE". 5 January 2011. Retrieved 13 April 2011. 
  11. ^ "Owls Hold off Tulane 71-61 - RICE OFFICIAL ATHLETIC SITE". 2 February 2011. Retrieved 13 April 2011. 
  12. ^ a b "Kazemi Named Second Team All-Conference - RICE OFFICIAL ATHLETIC SITE". 7 March 2011. Retrieved 13 April 2011. 
  13. ^ "Kazemi Named NABC Second Team All-District - RICE OFFICIAL ATHLETIC SITE". 9 March 2011. Archived from the original on 8 April 2011. Retrieved 13 April 2011. 
  14. ^ "Kazemi Selected to All-International Squad - RICE OFFICIAL ATHLETIC SITE". 14 March 2011. Archived from the original on 15 April 2011. Retrieved 13 April 2011. 
  15. ^ "Kazemi Claims USBWA All-District Recognition - RICE OFFICIAL ATHLETIC SITE". 10 March 2011. Archived from the original on 15 April 2011. Retrieved 13 April 2011. 
  16. ^ "Kazemi Receives USBWA Most Courageous Award - RICE OFFICIAL ATHLETIC SITE". 1 April 2011. Archived from the original on 15 April 2011. Retrieved 13 April 2011. 
  17. ^ "Arsalan Kazemi joining Oregon". September 24, 2012. Retrieved September 24, 2012. 
  18. ^ "Oregon's Arsalan Kazemi alleged racial discrimination while at Rice". CNN. 29 March 2013. 
  19. ^
  20. ^ "2009 FIBA U19 World Championship for Men Player profile". Retrieved 8 October 2010. 
  21. ^ "2010 FIBA World Championship Player profile". Archived from the original on 21 October 2010. Retrieved 8 October 2010. 
  22. ^ "Rice's Kazemi has biggest impact among collegians at FIBA worlds". CNN. 9 September 2010. 
  23. ^ Name, Author (3 September 2010). "Top FIBA Draft Prospects". Slam Online. Archived from the original on 6 October 2010. Retrieved 8 October 2010. 
  24. ^ Sixers acquire draft rights to Arsalan Kazemi
  25. ^
  26. ^ Done Deal: Arsalan Kazemi Inks In China