THERE was a major concern in the Iran side as Hamed Hadadi limped off the court early in the fourth period. The former Memphis Grizzlies player in the NBA and the star of the Iran basketball machine that has been flattening foes in this Fiba Asia Championship couldn’t put too much weight on his right leg.
But as he walked off the Mall of Asia Arena hardcourt after Iran’s 94-50 victory over rival Jordan, the 7-foot-2 Hadadi brushed off concerns.
“I’m okay,” he said in Iranian in an interview with an Iran television crew and a handful of journalists. “I’ll be ready for the next game.”
Hadadi was injured in a hustle play when a Jordanian player grabbed him as he jumped for the rebound. After the incident, people wondered if Iran, which was up 30 early in the fourth, should have still left Hadadi on the court after all.
Another reason why Hadadi was kept on the floor may be the New York Knicks scout who is set to fly him to the Big Apple for a possible audition.
“Actually, I’m here to evaluate all the players in the tournament,” said 45-year-old Gary Boyson, who has 16 years’ experience working as a scout for the NBA. “It’s no secret there are players here with NBA experience who have no contracts yet. We have a spot or two probably.”
Aside from Hadadi, Boyson is reportedly looking at China’s 19-year-old Wang Zhelin, a 7-0 prospect who could be the Great Wall’s next NBA export.