CAIRO (AfroBasket 2015) - Two years on, and Assem Marei is prepared to wear the colours of his country again.
Marei, who just earned his degree in Multidisciplinary Studies from the Minnesota State University, is one of Egypt’s fourteen players travelling to Lithuania on Saturday for a two-week training camp ahead of this year’s AfroBasket (19 - 30 August) in Tunisia.
He went to join the All-Tournament team along with the competition MVP Carlos Morais, Eduardo Mingas, Maleye Ndoye and Souleyman Diabate.
As a result of their successful campaign in Abidjan, Egypt qualified for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, but Marei was no where to be seen due to injuries.
Now, he feels ready to do whatever it takes to help his country.
“I have been waiting the whole summer for this tournament,” Marei said to FIBA.com.
Marei’s return to his national team will be somehow special as he will be playing under newly appointed Egypt’s head coach Ahmed Marei for the first time-ever.
“I am excited to play for my father. It’s going to be fun,” the 2.06m center acknowledges.
Egypt made significant progress over the past few years, climbing five places in the FIBA bwin World Ranking Men, and Marei insists they are capable of doing even better.
We are a lot younger, but this year I think we’ll do a lot better than we did a couple of years ago - Marei
“We are very competitive, and we’ll take whatever comes our way.
“This team will be great in the next two to three years time.”
Taking everything on their way translates to facing the likes of Cameroon, Gabon and Mali in Group A.
Whatever comes after the preliminary-round, Marei says, it is bonus.
“I know Cameroon have a couple of NBA players, and are very physical, but we’ll be ready for them.”
What does the future hold for the man who, this past season, led the Minnesota State University in scoring and in rebounding with 19.6 points and 8.9 rebounds per game?
“I haven’t declared for the [NBA] draft because of few minor injuries. Right now, I am glad that I concluded my degree in Interdisciplinary Studies.
“I’ll try the European basketball for a couple of years, then we’ll see what happens.”
Egypt will open their AfroBasket 2015 campaign against Gabon on 19 August.