Monday, January 21, 2013
Kazemi's under-the-radar impact
By Luke Lapinski
Oregon hasn't made the NCAA Tournament since 2008, but the program is in a good position to do so this year. The Ducks lead the Pac-12 at 16-2 (5-0 in league play) and currently rank No. 16 in the AP Top 25 poll. A balanced attack has led the way, with five different players averaging double-digit scoring -- all between 10.3 and 11.9 points per game. But a sixth player on this year's roster has made a huge difference as well.
Last year at this time, Arsalan Kazemi was suiting up in relative anonymity with Rice. When he transferred to Eugene over the summer and was cleared to start playing right away, it was pretty widely accepted that Dana Altman had made a very solid pickup. And Kazemi hasn't disappointed, pulling down 9.6 rebounds a night while chipping in 8.3 points and 2.1 steals per game. Those rebounding numbers are the best on the team by quite a bit (E.J. Singler is second with 5.2 per night), and Kazemi's gritty play has brought a new dimension to Oregon while freeing up his teammates to contribute in other ways.