2018/19 KingFut Season Preview: Egyptian Basketball Players
As basketball seasons in Europe and America begin, KingFut’s Mohaned Ghanem takes a look at Egyptian basketball players plying their trades abroad.
Abdel Nader remains the sole Egyptian contingent in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for the 2018-2019 season. The Alexandrian-born shooting guard will have a change of scenery this year, however, after being traded from the Boston Celtics to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Nader began his collegiate career playing for Northern Illinois, where he was a conference standout in his first two years. He transferred to Iowa State, where in his senior year, he averaged 12.9 points per game and 5.0 rebounds per game.
He was drafted by the Celtics with the 58th overall pick of the 2016 NBA Draft. He spent most of his first season in the G-League (formally the D-League), in which he was named the 2016 Development League Rookie of the Year. In his first full season with the Celtics, Nader played in 48 games, with one start. He averaged 3.0 points per game and 1.5 rebounds per game.
He will be hoping for a more prominent and involved role with the Oklahoma City Thunder, after rehabbing what is being described as a sore knee.
There are many other Egyptians playing in the United States, all of whom are collegiagte athletes playing in the NCAA.
Perhaps the most prominent Egyptian college star is Ehab Amin, who transferred from Texas A&M Corpus Christi last year. Ehab was born in Alexandria, Egypt, where he played for Alexandria Sporting Club in his youth, before moving to the USA in 2013.
He eventually committed to play at Texas A&M Corpus Christi, where, in his junior year, he set the NCAA Division 1 record with 3.4 steals per game. A hip injury forced him to sit out his senior year, and he decided to transfer to a bigger program. He initially committed to Nevada before decommitting due to the return of more established players to the team. He then decided to commit to the Oregon Ducks, a Pac-12 team with a real chance to win their conference.
Dana Altman’s squad are one of the more athletic teams in the country, and will be led by Sudanese legend Manute Bol’s son, Bol Bol. Amin will be looking to make a splash with complementary scoring and defensive intensity to catch the eye of scouts in preparation for the 2019 NBA Draft.
As a fifth-year senior, it is unlikely that Amin will be drafted unless he plays exceptionally well this season.
It is unclear what role Karim Sameh Azab will play for the Memphis Tigers this year after it was announced that he began cancer treatment in April of this year. Last year, Azab played in 15 games for coach Tubby Smith, who was fired and replaced by NBA legend Penny Hardaway.
Azab moved to North Carolina from Egypt, where he played for a travel basketball team, backing up current Sacramento Kings power forward, Harry Giles. He eventually moved to Chicago for his final year of high school before committing to Memphis.
New Jersey Institute of Technology’s Mohamed Bendaryis entering his senior year, averaging 2.83 points and 2.67 rebounds per game. The Highlanders will be hoping to improve upon their 7th overall conference finish from last year.
Ahmed Ismail will be entering his final year of eligibility amid his first year with IUPUI (Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis). He spent his first two years at Colby Community College, before playing for Manhattan College in 2016-2017, where he averaged 3.90 points and 4.80 rebounds per game. He sat out last year due to transfer rules, and will be looking to showcase his skills after a year of waiting.
Finally, Fairfield’s Omar El-Sheikh will be looking to build off a promising freshman performance last year. The Cairo-born forward first became noticed when he attended an NBA camp in South Africa in 2015. His strong play continued in the 2016 FIBA World Cup. He moved to New York to attend The Knox School to play basketball, before committing to play for Fairfield.
Assem Marei, former Zamalek star, is currently enjoying his first season with Turkey’s Pınar Karşıyaka. Marei played for Minnesota State after moving to America to further his basketball career. After graduation, he signed for Lithuania’s BC Šiauliai before playing two years with German team Medi Bayreuth.
Aly Ahmed enjoyed three years with NCAA’s Cal State Bakersfield, averaging 12.2 points and 6.68 rebounds per game, before going undrafted in the 2016 NBA Draft. He now plays in Canada for the Saint John Riptide.
KingFut wishes the best of luck to all of these players, and may they continue to make Egypt proud.
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