College Basketball

Ex-Rice star Kazemi picks Oregon

Arsalan Kazemi has transferred to Oregon, the ex-Rice star confirmed to SI.com on Sunday. He arrived in Eugene on Saturday and is set to begin classes at the university on Monday, which is the first day of its fall semester.

Kazemi, a 6-foot-7 senior forward who received his release from Rice on Sept. 17, considered the Ducks as well as Kentucky, Florida, Cincinnati, Texas and Ohio State. He told SI.com that he plans to petition the NCAA for a hardship waiver that would allow him to play in 2012-13 rather than sit out the season. He averaged 12.4 points and 10.3 rebounds for Rice as a junior and was expected to be a Conference USA Player of the Year candidate as a senior. News of his transfer destination was first reported by the Eugene Register-Guard.

In 2009, Kazemi became the first native Iranian to play college basketball, and he remains the only Iranian on a D-I roster. He was a member of Iran's senior national team in the 2010 FIBA World Championships.

Kazemi is the sixth player to leave the Rice program this offseason, following a 19-16 campaign under fifth-year coach Ben Braun. Center Omar Oraby left on Sept. 12 for USC; prior to that, David Chadwick transferred to Valparaiso, Dylan Ennis transferred to Villanova, Jarelle Reischel transferred to Rhode Island, and Ahmad Ibrahim opted to turn pro overseas.

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