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Tuesday / February 21.

Kazemi & Edomwonyi to Rice

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Arsalan Kazemi has chosen a school.

Kazemi, a 6-foot-7, 190-pound combo forward from Iran who plays at The Patterson (N.C.) School, made a verbal commitment to Rice Friday during an official visit to the Houston school.

Kazemi’s commitment comes shortly after Egheosa Edomwonyi, a 6-7, 225-pound power forward from the Princeton (N.J.) Hun School, also chose to play for head coach Ben Braun. St. Benedict’s combo guard Tamir Jackson — who decommitted from UAB — and 6-5 Chicago wing Chris Eversley will also play at Rice.

Kazemi chose Rice over Seton Hall, which he visited officially last weekend, and Maryland, which he was slated to visit the weekend of Nov. 7.

Memphis, Colorado, Cincinnati, Western Kentucky and Virginia Tech also expressed interest in Kazemi, who is hoping to become the first Iranian to play American college ball.

“I notified Maryland and I notified Seton Hall,” said Anthony Ibrahim, Kazemi’s adviser who lives in Texas. “We canceled the visit to Maryland.

“The young man took the visit [to Rice] and he fell in love with the school and said they did a great job. They showed him they needed him bad. He loved the school, the campus. He liked the guys on the team and he said, ‘I want to be an Owl.'”

Kazemi is a bouncy, athletic, skilled combo forward who, since arriving here in February, has been courted by a number of Division I programs. He also holds a 4.0 GPA. He was not immediately available for comment Friday night because he was with the Rice players, Ibrahim said.

“I don’t know a lot of college basketball in America,” he said in a previous interview. “I have to go somewhere.”

Kazemi will now join a recruiting class that includes Edomwonyi and Jackson, a scoring guard who dropped 29 points on Brandon Jennings and Oak Hill last year. With such players, Kazemi can be a great glue guy who can also score.

“He’ll be the ultimate teammate,” Ibrahim said of Kazemi. “He’ll be worrying about the scoreboard. He wants his team to win. And he’s going to be a very good student and classmate, and a good human being. He’s going to make the difference.

“We don’t care about position or nothing. He’s going to be a student and a basketball player.”

Kazemi’s decision leaves Seton Hall without a recruit it had high hopes to land. St. Anthony wing Dominic Cheek also axed Seton Hall from his list. The Pirates next highest recruiting targets are 7-footer Jarrid Famous of Westchester Community College and Karron Johnson, a 6-7 power forward from Mount Zion (N.C.) Academy who may present some academic challenges in order to play college ball.

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Zagoria@hotmail.com

Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.

  • Adam,

    So far the news for the Hall and the Hall Alumni isn’t too good. Herb Pope has been rejected for the second time in almost as many months and it seems like that Pope is definitely not playing until next season hopefully. There is no word from the clearing house if Melvyn Oliver is eligible to play. Glover is a still in limbo and could develop into (if he isn’t already) a potential black eye for the program. Also, Stix has been suspended for 2 games because of an infraction that would have left the kid stranded in DC.

    Furthermore, Gonzo has not been able to recruit that top flight player that he so deperately needs to get into the fold. He’s lost out on Kazemi (who may or may not have been a difference maker but sounds like he would have been extremely solid in the Big East) and Cheek (who definitely would have been a marque player for the Hall and still may be in Big East). Now the recruiting is coming down to more transfers from community schools who only have 2 years and recruits that could go the same route as Glover with academic problems. Is it time for Gonzo to start a difference type of recruiting philosophy? Maybe recruit the kid that can develop in a year or two into a good player? Players like Terry Dehere, Arturas Karnishovas, Gordon Winchester, Ramon Ramos, Anthony Avent were not exactly household names but developed into solid professionals (either in the NBA or somewhere else in the world) after developing into solid Big East players. So far it seems like Gonzo either goes for the home run or strikes out.

    Regards,

    Mike

    PS … Is that you in all the interview videos?

  • Hey Adam,

    What have you heard anything about Xavier Henry? Evidently some pretty interesting developments have taken place, especially on the part of Kansas finding a way to change his mind (some are saying with bribing). You might not be allowed to comment on that, but any insight would be good. Thanks.