TEHRAN (FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup 2017) - Ehsan Samadi spent the winter playing with the Iranian senior national team at the West Asia Basketball Association (WABA) Championship. And he hopes that experience will help him lead Iran to a top eight showing at the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup 2017.
A top-eight showing would be a strong improvement on Iran’s history at the U19 spectacle, where the Asian powers have finished 11th and 14th in the last two tournaments.
The Iranians come to the 1-9 July event as the reigning FIBA U18 Asia Championship winners. Samadi collected 11.1 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.1 steals for the host team, which reeled off victories over China, Korea and Japan in the knockout stage after struggling in Group B with losses to Japan and Korea.
One of the most important goals at the U19 tournament - and we all agree on it - is to finish among the top eight teams. All of us know that it will be very hard work. But we want to try very hard for it in order to achieve our goal." - Samadi
For the tournament in Cairo, Samadi and his teammates have been drawn into Group D along with Angola, Italy and United States.
"Iranian teams have always been competitive and as usual we will do our best to be competitive again like the past teams. All the players expect to be good representatives of Iranian basketball," Samadi said.
Samadi himself is really looking forward to competing at the U19 tournament.
"Being in this competition will be a very big experience for me and I am sure I will use this experience in my career," the Tehran native said.
An international experience from earlier this year will play a major role in Samadi’s performance this summer in Cairo. He made his debut with Iran’s senior national team at the WABA Championship from 29 January-2 February and averaged 4.5 points in two games, hitting 3-of-4 three-pointers for 9 points and grabbing 1 rebound in 8 total minutes.
"I want to thank my coach and federation for giving me the chance to be with the best players in my country. I wanted to be there and I felt very good," Samadi said. "I saw that practicing a lot shows I can achieve whatever I want and improve my basketball."