Arsalan Kazemi joins Sixers in Orlando

Arsalan Kazemi joins Sixers in Orlando
July 7, 2014, 3:30 pm
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Arsalan Kazemi, a member of the Iranian National Team, was the first-ever Iranian-born player selected in the NBA draft. (USA Today Images)

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Arsalan Kazemi, whom the Sixers selected with the 54th pick of last year's draft, walked into the practice gym Monday morning with the Sixers.

He was a surprising sight. 

Kazemi was supposed to play in the Las Vegas Summer League beginning Friday, but he had a change of plans.

"I will play here," he said. "I was with my national team. I traveled into Midway [Chicago] and then came here. I will play in Orlando, and then I have to join them [the national team] again for the FIBA Asia Cup and China."

Kazemi is a member of the Iranian National Team. He was the first-ever Iranian-born player selected in the NBA draft. 

Kazemi will play in the Orlando Summer League for a second consecutive year. After his participation last summer he signed a one-year deal with Petrochimi Bandar, a professional team in Iran.

Kazemi had a productive season, averaging 11.0 rebounds and 12.5 points shooting 58.4 percent from the field. 

"Last year they were saying I was an undersized four-man," Kazemi said. "I can guard the perimeter but I still need to work on the perimeter. I think I work on my shot a little bit. Hopefully, I will show it during the games."

The Sixers play at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Kazemi is expected to play along with Nerlens Noel.

Kazemi, who is 6-foot-8, enjoyed playing overseas last season because he was home. He also found the Iran Super League to be highly competitive.

"People don't think about it that way, but I am pretty sure it is one of the strongest leagues overseas," the former Oregon Duck said. "It was pretty good. I got a lot of experience playing there."

Whether that experience is enough to earn him a roster spot in Philadelphia the upcoming season is unknown, but that is the goal.

"The Sixers are my team," Kazemi said. "I wanted to see everyone, all the coaches. I still want to join this team and come here and play. I wanted to come here and show them what I added to my game this year."

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