NBA and NHL Draft Results

June 30, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, TMO, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

Ottawa Spirit Rug c2011

In last week’s National Hockey League draft, the Ottawa Senators selected Iranian-Swedish center Mika Zibanejad with the number six selection in the first round. Senators General Manager Bryan Murray told the Ottawa Citizen that Zibanejad will get every opportunity to make the parent club this very next season. Zibanejad is currently taking part in Ottawa’s annual developmental camp.

The National Basketball Association draft was also held last week. Turkish center Enes Kanter went very high in the first round, as he was selected by the Utah Jazz with the third selection overall despite numerous rumors that had him going with Minnesota’s number two selection. Kanter will join fellow Turkish center Mehmet Okur in Utah. Later in the first round, Morehead State University power forward Kenneth Faried was taken with the number 22 pick by the Denver Nuggets.

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Turk Is Best Center in 2011 NBA Draft

June 23, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, TMO, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

photo dayTurkish basketball player Enes Kanter was one of a dozen players who met the media in mid-town Manhattan Wednesday to discuss the 2011 NBA Draft, which takes place Thursday June 23rd. Kanter told the throng of reportes that he expected to go in the first three picks Thursday night, which are held by Cleveland, Minnesota and Utah in that order. While Cleveland is almost a lock to take Duke point guard Kyrie Lewis with the first pick, Kanter’s name will be in play almost immediately after that. While Minnesota has not shown much interest in the Turkish center, a number of teams have been rumored to be angling to trade into the second or third position to nab him. Utah at the third position is reportedly leaning toward Kentucky point guard Brandon Knight, but they also have Kanter in the back of their minds, as do the Cleveland Cavaliers who pick again at number four.

Kanter, who just turned nineteen years old on May 20th, was recruited to play basketball for the University of Kentucky. However, the NCAA declared him permanently ineligible for inter-collegiate athletics because he received approximately $33,000 from the Turkish professional team Fenerbahçe Ülker. The NCAA ruled that this amount was above and beyond what was considered acceptable. On January 7, 2011, the NCAA rejected Kentucky’s appeal, rendering Kanter permanently ineligible. As a result, he declared for the 2011 NBA Draft. His amateur accomplishments include being named the Most Valuable Player in the 2009 FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship, averaging 18.6 points and 16.4 rebounds while leading Turkey’s junior national team to the bronze medal.

Kanter, whose father Mehmet is a professor at Trakya University in Turkey, told the reporters that if would have been cleared by the NCAA to play college basketball last season that not only would the University of Kentucky have won the national title, but that he would clearly be the number one pick in this draft.”Because I believe I am the best player in this draft,” Kanter remarked. Rick Bozich of the Louisville Courier-Journal asked Kanter if he believed he would have dominated in college basketball last season? “Yes,” he said, shaking his head. “We would have won the national title.” “Easily?” replied Bozich. “Yes,” retorted Kanter. Hopefully that confidence is borne out in Thursday’s draft.

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Kenneth Fareid Waits for the NBA’s Call

June 23, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, TMO, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

1300832190Kenneth Faried, a native of Newark native, will be just around the corner in mid-town Manhattan for Thursday’s NBA Draft, where he is expected to be a first round draft pick. “The area I grew up in was pretty bad, so it means so much more,” Faried told The Newark Star-Ledger. “I got a cousin and little brother and family who can say, ‘Hey, Kenneth made it out. Why can’t we?’ ”…“I grew up around this area,” Faried said. “It’s my home.”

Faried played at tiny Morehead State in the Ohio Valley Conference, because his parents wanted to get him out of the hood and further into his education. And with this renewed ability to focus in the hills of eastern Kentucky, he went on to become the leading career rebounder in college basketball’s modern era, eclipsing Tim Duncan’s post-1973 record of 1673 career rebounds. But Tim Duncan is a seven-footer who has gone on to an All-Star NBA career. Kenneth is only six foot eight, 225 pounds. That is why Faried evokes so many comparisons to one of the most ferocious, yet undersized, rebounders in NBA history, the mercurial Dennis Rodman. Faried attributes his tenacity to growing up playing basketball in Newark, “It was either wilt and cry, or just go out there and show them I can play. It made me tougher, because I wasn’t backing down,” Faried said.

“He wasn’t going to stay in Newark. That wasn’t going to happen,” Waudda said. “And it wasn’t like I was trying to push him away or anything. It was just the way I felt. I told him there’s a better world out there and this ain’t the only world.” He eventually ended up averaging 16 points and 13.5 rebounds over his final three seasons. He helped Morehead State upset Louisville in the first round of the 2011 NCAA tournament. But, most importantly to his parents, he graduated from college this spring.

But that doesn’t mean that they are not excited about Kenneth’s draft prospects. “We could jump on the bus and go downtown,” his mother Waudda told the Star-Ledger. “It’s just really amazing that [the draft] is actually in Newark this year.” Right now Faried is projected to be taken inside of the draft’s top 20 selections.

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Muhammad Wilkerson Waits for His Name to Be Called

April 28, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, TMO, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

ScreenShot140With the NFL Draft this Thursday, there is talk that Temple University defensive tackle Muhammad Wilkerson could be selected in the mid-to-late first round. That means that likely by the end of Thursday we should know his new NFL Team. Marc Londo of the Philadelphia Examiner wrote up an NFL Draft Prospect report on Wilkerson, and stated, “He plays with high motor and has very good balance for a big man, with an impressive ability to quickly change direction. His superior strength, power and athleticism at the point of attack makes him a force to be reckoned with.”

At 6-4 and 315 pounds with 35 ¼ inch arms, Wilkerson has great size. He ran a 4.96 forty at the Combine and has shown the ability to play inside in a 4-3, or defensive end in a 3-4 system. Wilkerson has been know for his athleticism since coming out of Linden High School in New Jersey, where he was known for his skills on the the basketball court.  Scouts, Inc. had him rated as the 173rd-best power forward in the country. After a year of prep school at Hargrave Military Academy , the 6-4, 315 pound joined Temple as a three-star defensive lineman, where he ended up being the best defensive player Temple fans have seen in decades. This was shown by his accomplishments where he was named to the 2010 All-MAC first team honoree. In 2010, Wilkerson finisished with 70 tackles, 9.5 sacks and 13 tackles for loss last year, this includes the game against Kent State , where he dominated the line with 6 tackles and 3 sacks for a loss of 21 yards, earning him the MAC Defensive Player of the Week honors. His final stats for his three year Temple career, 144 tackles, 17.5 sacks and 26 tackles for loss.   His versatility as an athlete is precisely why he should fare well at the next level. He’s able to handle the double team very well and can get into the backfield. Beyond that, he has made the plays when Temple has needed them. As an early entry into the draft, he still has rough areas in his game that need to be worked out. However, that could also be considered part of his upside. He’s been very effective with a relatively limited skill-set. With further instruction from NFL coaches, he can be a difference maker for any franchise that drafts him. Since becoming an Owl, Wilkerson has worked hard to become a leader among his teammates. He is diligent and expects the same of those around him. His lead-by-example work ethic has been instrumental in the growth of the Temple football program. It is his maturity that I feel gives him an edge on many other defensive line prospects in the top portion of the draft.  Good luck to Wilkerson on Thursday.  SU will tweet as soon as he is drafted.

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Al-Farouq Aminu: The Chief Has Arrived

May 13, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

al-farouq_aminu

By Parvez Fatteh, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

Al-Farouq Aminu represents the greatest hope for the Muslim world in the upcoming National Basketball Association draft of college players, to be held in New York City next month. Aminu just completed his junior season at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. And, he is currently projected to be a top 10 pick in the draft. Al-Farouq grew up in suburban Atlanta, Georgia, and after an illustrious career at Norcross High School, he was given the prestigious honor of being named the state of Georgia’s “Mr. Basketball.” Rivals.com rated him the top small forward coming out of high school. And, he played in the 2008 McDonald’s All-Star Game for the nation’s best high school basketball talent.

The son of Aboubakar and Anjirlic Aminu, Al-Farouq and family are reportedly descendents of Nigerian kings. They are establishing themselves as kings of basketball as well. His brother Alade, 3 years his elder, played for Georgia Tech University and currently plays in the NBA. And, their 11-year-old younger brother, Al-Majid, appears to be following in their basketball footsteps as well. Alade told the Winston-Salem Journal, “I think he’s going to be the best Aminu.”

At 6 feet 9 inches and 215 lbs, Al-Farouq Aminu is surprisingly agile for his size. NBADraft.net describes him as, “a huge leaper with freakish athleticism, explosiveness and solid length, Aminu uses these 3 strengths to make him an excellent rebounder and defender.” With a 7 feet 2 inch wing-span, he demonstrates tremendous reach and shot-blocking ability. And, his lateral quickness is such that he can also guard smaller, faster players, while still having the strength and size to bang with the big boys.

A blemish on Al-Farouq’s record came just prior to his high school graduation in 2008. Through a combination of boredom, peer pressure, and teenage bravado, he and two friends fired a BB gun at an Atlanta woman. Aminu had nothing close to a criminal record prior, and has had no brushes with the law since. And, his remorse and stellar record were so strong that the woman herself requested leniency for the boys, and the charges were reduced to three misdemeanors. Al-Farouq and his two friends were given probation. He still remembers the impact of that brush with the law, and admits to becoming more of an independent thinker as a result. “…I guess it humbled me even more. It doesn’t matter who you are. The world looks at you just the same,” he told the Winston-Salem Journal.
Al-Farouq is a good enough basketball player to begin his professional career after only his sophomore year of college. But with the dedication he has shown on the court, and as a Muslim, the communications major will, by all indications, be returning at some point to complete his degree. Draftexpress.com asked him what a typical off-season day for him was like. He responded, “I pray, work out in the morning, and then have a pretty normal day.” That is the type of answer we would like to hear from all of our kids. And when Al-Farouq’s parents watch him take the stage next month after being selected early in the NBA Draft, they will be seeing further attestation to the translated meaning of the name Al-Farouq: The Chief has arrived!

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Deji Karim Begins NFL Journey

May 6, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

deji-karim Abdul Deji Karim had spent over two days waiting for the phone to ring. The running back from Southern Illinois University was awaiting his selection in the National Football League Draft, and the call finally came in the 6th round of the selection process. Karim was selected on April 24th by the Jacksonville Jaguars, who hope to have him spell their star running back Maurice Jones-Drew and return kicks.

Karim, ironically, went to high school with the player that was the very first selection in the 2010 NFL Draft, Oklahoma University quarterback Sam Bradford. But Karim’s college football accomplishments at a smaller school proved more difficult to display to scouts. In fact, he was not even invited to the NFL’s national scouting combine in February. So, he instead secured an invitation to perform an individual workout for scouts on the campus of Northwestern University in Chicago. That is where he dazzled scouts with workout numbers that were in the top 5 of all running backs in the draft.

Now Deji Karim awaits mini-camp later this month, followed by training camp this summer. He may be a kitten amongst Jaguars for now, but he will continue to seek out every opportunity to roar.

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