Rice forward Arsalan Kazemi, who is believed to be the first Iranian to earn a scholarship to play Division I hoops, scored 14 points against Team USA at the world championship.
He also showed he could be diplomatic when discussing the political backdrop of the game. It's not every day a Rice player gets interviewed on CNN, and Kazemi came through with this:
"Yeah I get a lot of questions, most of it about the politics. But our game is nothing to do about the politics, it's just the sport," Iranian player Arsalan Kazemi told CNN.
"The only way is for people from USA and Iran can come together and have a friendly time together. We have to go there and play our best. The USA, you know, are a lot better than us. We just have to go there and play so the fans can enjoy the game," Kazemi said before the match.
The 6-foot, 7-inch forward and sophomore at Rice University in Texas considers himself a fan of both teams.
On the court, Kazemi played well going up against Chauncey Billups and the rest of the Americans. Besides the 14 points, he came away with five steals and rebounded well as usual.
Kazemi nearly averaged a double-double as a freshman at Rice, finishing second in rebounds in Conference USA and proving he's a trailblazer who can play.