Arsalan Kazemi joining Oregon
Kazemi confirmed the move in an interview with FOX 26 in Houston.
"I decided to come to Oregon," Kazemi told the TV station. "I think it was a situation for me, I had to look at a lot of schools, and I think this was the best situation for me. So I decided to come to Oregon."
Kazemi, who is the first Iranian-born college basketball player, averaged 12.4 points and 10.3 rebounds for the Owls as a junior last season. Kazemi would have been a contender for Conference USA player of the year had he stayed at Rice.
The 6-foot-7, 220-pound Kazemi was on Oregon's campus Saturday and was slated to start working out with the Ducks on Monday.
Kazemi will seek a hardship waiver to play immediately at Oregon rather than sit out the season. If he doesn't receive the waiver, his plan is to sit out the year rather than declare for the NBA draft or seek a professional contract overseas, a source said.
The Ducks' frontcourt is now loaded with players originally slated for other schools to go along with senior E.J. Singler, who was a homegrown Oregon talent. Oregon coach Dana Altman has continued to look for a mix of transfers and high school seniors since he arrived in Eugene in 2010.
Oregon returns Tony Woods, a Wake Forest transfer who played last season as a junior for Oregon as a rotation player, and the Ducks just added 6-11 transfer forward Waverly Austin from South Florida. Austin, a JC transfer from Palm Beach State College, wasn't academically eligible in time for the start of the fall semester at South Florida but was able to get eligible for a quarter system school like Oregon, according to a source.
The Ducks, who last season finished 24-10 overall, 13-5 in the Pac-12 and reached the NIT quarterfinals, will rely heavily on experience up front while leaning on a youthful backcourt led by point guard Dominic Artis from Findlay College Prep.
If Kazemi isn't deemed eligible he would join Austin to form a formidable frontcourt in 2013-14. If he is ruled eligible then the 2012-13 Ducks would have quite a foursome of Singler, Woods, Austin and Kazemi, with the latter the most proven, the former the most experienced and all four providing plenty of size and length.
Kazemi was one of six players to leave Rice since the end of last season.