2014 FIBA World Cup Preview: Iran
By Dana Alyssa Ramos | August 29, 2014 10:05 AM EST
The Iran basketball national team will be at this year's FIBA World Cup with veterans Hamed Haddadi, Asghar Kardoust, Mohammad Jamshidi, Rouzbeh Arghavan, Aren Davoudi and Oshin Sahakian and head coach Mehmed Becirovic.
The most interesting players this year are the two NT returnees-- Arsalan Kazemi and Behnam Yakhchali. In the 2013 FIBA U19 Tournament, Yakhchali was Iran's star. He averaged 11 points per game and made more than one three-pointer every game. On the other hand, Kazemi is a second round pick 2013 NBA Draft (by the Washington Wizards and eventually traded to the Philadelphia 76ers, which currently holds his rights) norming over 13 PPG and 11 rebounds per game in international play.
Iran basketball national team's offense at the 2014 FIBA World Cup will once again be anchored on Hamed Haddadi, who should be the most dominant player in the team. He is a former NBA player with stints with the Memphis Grizzlies and Phoenix Suns albeit on a very limited playing time. The 7-foot-2 center was seen recently in Chinese and Iranian pro leagues and is expected to give the Iran NT a lift both in scoring and rebounding. Last time, the Iranian big played in the world stage was in 2010 when averaged 20.0 points and 8.6 rebounds.
Iran's Projected 12-Man Roster for 2014 World Cup in Spain:
Rouzbeh Arghavan (C), Hamed Haddadi (C), Sajjad Mashayekhi (G), Samad Nikkhah Bahrami (F), Behnam Yakhchaili (G),Momhammad Jamshidi (F), Mahdi Kamrani (G), Oshin Sahakian (F), Asghar Kardoust (C), Arman Zangeneh (F), Hamed Afagh (G) and Arsalan Kazemi (F).
Previous tune-up matches helped the Iran national team to prepare for the 2014 FIBA World Cup and coach Becirovic is happy with the results of the exhibition games.
"We participated in the four-team Torun Basket Cup in Poland. We lost to the hosts and Sweden but defeated Portugal. I am satisfied with the results given the exhaustion of our players," Becirovic told Tehran Times according to xinhuanet.com.
Iran team also played in Slovakia in Bratislava, where the team lost the first match but won the second. According the Slovenian coach, overall, three defeats and two victories are already satisfactory for the team.
Iran was drawn with the current world no. 2 Spain, France, Serbia, Egypt and Brazil in Group A at the the 2014 FIBA World Cup on Aug. 30 through Sept. 14 in Spain.
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