Oregon forward Arsalan Kazemi is a 6-7 forward from Esfahan, Iran, a more than interesting fact considering international relations.
He spent the first three seasons of his career at Rice, so he's no newcomer to the U.S. And by now, his status back home is rising, punctuated when the Ducks won the Pac-12 Tournament last week.
“My mom was watching the championship game on ESPN,” Kazemi said. “We have ESPN back home. Well, a lot of people started following, and especially when we won the championship game.
“I think there was a big picture of the Oregon Ducks in the newspaper back home.”
ALTMAN RECALLS CLASHES WITH SUTTON
During four seasons at Kansas State, Altman had his clashes with OSU.
The memories are not pleasant.
“I usually remember Eddie Sutton's team kicking our ass, that's what I remember,” Altman said. “Eddie was unbelievable to me. I was a very young coach at the time and he was really good to me. Not on the court, but off the court.
“He had some really good teams. We got him once up there, in a game that we trailed the whole thing, and ended up getting him. But for the most part they were better than us. They were bigger, more physical and got the better of us.
“So my memories of Oklahoma State aren't very good.”
Travis Ford on a newly popular comparison of Jason Kidd and Marcus Smart:
“Body-wise, I can see it. And I think they both play with a reckless abandon … In those aspects I think they're very similar. The difference is, and people don't remember, Marcus Smart never played the point guard until this year.
“Jason Kidd grew up being a point guard, all through junior high, high school. Marcus has done an incredible job of adapting. On the high school team, he's brought the ball up the court at times, but no one had ever said you are the point guard, here's the basketball. And in that way they're a little different. But body-wise, how they approach the game, I'd say that's a pretty good comparison.”
* Thursday's matchup delivers the only pairing of ranked teams in this year's NCAA Tournament Round of 64, with the Cowboys at No. 17 and the Ducks No. 25. It's only the 11th time in history that two ranked teams have squared off in the round of 64 — the first pairing of ranked schools from BCS conferences.
* On the combined rosters of OSU and Oregon, only one player can claim NCAA Tournament experience: Ducks starting center Tony Woods, who played three tournament games at Wake Forest, before transferring.
* Oregon's Singler is among 12 semifinalists for the Eddie Sutton Tustengee Award, presented by Tulsa Sports Charities to the collegiate basketball player who “best exhibits the traits of tenacity and unselfishness that Sutton advocated.”