(photo from Rivals.com)
One of the biggest recruiting names of the summer has been 18 year old Iranian forward Arsalan Kazemi. Luke Winn did an excellent write-up on him, his coming to the US, and how he may not be able to go back to Iran (and continue playing for the junior national team) and return to the states, since relations between the two countries are... well, neither party is "blinking."
Being new to the country, hyped and unknown, and attending the Patterson School in North Carolina will keep him on major teams' radars; Maryland, for one, has a half-Iranian assistant coach who is in contact with Kazemi. Oklahoma State and Seton Hall offered him early. I always wondered since Iranian Arsalan Kazemi came on the scene, why St. John's wasn't all over this guy as well. He's known to be a hard-working forward, and blew up this summer with smart play and an aggressive style. Sounds like the kind of player Norm Roberts would want.
Additionally, New York has a few Persians, and Persian food; although I'll admit that Houston does have a lot of Iranians, and Los Angeles is in parts like an Iranian city, the way Washington Heights is a Dominican Republic city. But what better place to ball as a foreigner than Queens, in an area filled with immigrant populations?
Well, St. John's is on the case, though Seton Hall has been on the case longer. From Zagsblog:
"Standford, Louisville, Seton Hall, Maryland, Rice, Syracuse, UConn, Rutgers, St. John’s, Oklahoma State, Missouri, they’re all recruiting him," Ibrahim said by phone, adding that Chris Casey and Kimani Young of St. John’s, and Jimmy Carr from Rutgers "call me almost on a daily basis."
Among that group, Kazemi has only had visits at Patterson with Seton Hall head coach Bobby Gonzalez and Maryland coach Gary Williams.
"We like Seton Hall a lot," Abrahim said. "I’m interested but the door is still open for the ones that we have talked to and been recruiting us for a while. It’s a good situation. I like (assistant coach) Scott Adubato. He’s got that experience of the NBA and the college level. He knows how to develop guys and what it takes to get to the next level.
"I don’t know Gonzalez that much but I know Scott."
Said Kazemi: "They like me a lot. That’s why I like them. Coach Gonzalez is very cool. And Coach Adubato."
Asked what else he knew about Seton Hall, Kazemi laughed and said: "I watch a lot of movies. It’s New York, a lot of tall buildings. I think I like New York."
You know who plays in Manhattan, Arsalan? St. John's.