Kris Santiago and Faisal Aden (193-G-89) sat down to talk about Faisal's past season and his future in professional basketball.
Africabasket: Faisal, you finished your college-basketball career in the worst way by injuring your knee during the season. What were your first thoughts after getting the news that you wouldn't be playing for WSU anymore?
Faisal: It was really difficult when I heard the news. I was just coming off some very big games and things were going well. I had 33 points against Stanford and 24 points against Cal and we won both those games even though those teams were ranked much higher than us. I was playing the best basketball of my career and I was named National Player of the Week that week. I then started out really well against Arizona, another really good team, when I hurt my knee. It was really difficult for me but eventually I realized everything would be okay. The good news is that I will make a 100% recovery and will be back on the court later this year.
AB: What comes next for Faisal Aden (193-G-89)? A career in basketball in the States or overseas?
Faisal: My agents, Ben and Adam Pensack, have been talking to NBA teams as well as teams in Europe. So far several NBA teams have said they watched me play last year and like my game because I can score the ball in a variety of ways and shoot good percentages. Most people don't know this but I was the leading scorer in the Pac-12 Conference per 40 minutes. There were a lot of good players in the conference that will be in the NBA so it is a nice accomplishment to be mentioned in the same group as those guys (Tony Wroten, Terrence Ross, my teammate Brock Motum, etc...). I know that if I continue to get stronger and work on my all around game (ball handling, creating opportunities for my teammates, etc...) the sky is the limit. I am just honored that I am going to have the chance to play professional basketball. Depending on the timing of my recovery I may end up in the D-League here in the U.S. or I may end up overseas. No matter what happens I am just working incredibly hard every day to get stronger and get better. I know I have things I need to work on but I am not afraid to work hard to accomplish all of my goals.
AB: You grew up in sunny San Diego. How was it for you to grow up there and moving later on to Pullman so far away from a major city and the beach?|
Faisal: Moving to Pullman away from the sunshine and big city was definitely a big a change for me. Everything about Pullman is different from home like the weather, being on my own etc.. Once basketball season kicked off though I didn't think about it too much since I was just focusing on the season and my classwork. I feel like as long as I have basketball it will make it easier no matter where I am.
AB: Qatar seems to be a hotbed for Somali basketball players. Would this be an option for you? Are you holding a Somali passport?
Faisal: Right now I think the priorities are going to be the D-League and Europe but I will never rule anything out. I just want to play at the highest level possible so I can continue to get better every day. I don't have a Somali passport yet but I am eligible for it and we are working on getting it.
AB: Fellow Cougar Thomas Kelati (Eritrean) is pretty known here in Europe. If you could choose, where would you like to play, country-wise and why?
Faisal: If it were up to me I'd play in the NBA here in the U.S. of course. But I know I may have to go to the D-League or overseas. If I go overseas, I am open to going wherever the best basketball is played. My agents have talked to me about different leagues so I know Spain, Italy, Turkey, and a few other leagues are really good. But I really am open to going wherever the best basketball is. I know this is my career now and I'm going to work hard every day wherever I end up to become the best all around player I can be.
AB: Thank you Faisal for answering our questions and all the best for your future!
Keravnos Strovolou (Division A) signed 31-year old Somalian ex-international forward Mohamed Abukar (208-85, college: San Diego State, agency: Two Points). He is a dual citizen owning also American passport. Abukar played last season at Sigal Prishtina in Kosovan SuperLeague. He managed to play in three leagues last year. In 22 SuperLeague games he had 13 [read more]
Keravnos Strovolou (Division A) signed 31-year old Somalian ex-international forward Mohamed Abukar (208-85, college: San Diego State, agency: Two Points). He is a dual citizen owning also American passport. Abukar played last season at Sigal Prishtina in Kosovan SuperLeague. He managed to play in three leagues last year. In 22 SuperLeague games he had 13.4ppg, 3.8rpg and 2.2apg. Abukar helped them to win the league title and the cup. A very impressive season as he was named to Eurobasket.com All-Kosovo League 2nd Team and to the All-Star Game. Abukar also played 6 games in FIBA Europe Cup where he recorded very remarkable stats: 16.0ppg, 5.2rpg and 1.5apg. And finally he contributed to 15 games in Balkan League where he was fifth best scorer with high stats: 17.7ppg and averaged 4.5rpg, 1.9apg and 1.0spg. Abukar contributed to his team winning the Balkan League championship. Quite impressive season as he was voted Eurobasket.com All-Balkan League Player of the Year, Import Player of the Year and Forward of the Year. The previous (14-15) season he played at Shinshu (BJ League) in Japan. In 45 games he got high stats: 17.5ppg, 4.9rpg and 2.6apg. A very spectacular season in his career as he was named to Asia-Basket.com All-Japanese BJ League Honorable Mention. In 2008 (a year after he left the college) Abukar was drafted by Austin Toros (D-League) in second round (17th overall). He attended San Diego State until 2007 and it will be his tenth season in pro basketball. The list of the past achievements is quite long as among others Abukar was voted Eurobasket.com All-Swiss LNA Player of the Year back in 2012. He was a member of Somalian Senior National Team in 2013. Abukar is quite experienced player. He has played in seven different countries on three different continents (Europe, Asia and of course North America). Abukar has played previously professionally in Belgium (Spirou Charleroi), Bulgaria (Lukoil Academic Sofia), Holland (ABC Amsterdam), Italy (AV Cantu), FYR Macedonia (Rabotnicki), D-League (Idaho Stampede and Austin Spurs) and Switzerland (Lugano Tigers). He could be described:
A quick and agile forward, with good fundametals, who can score well from inside and ouitside the paint. Has a good shooting range, runs very well the court for a player of his size.
Sigal Prishtina (SuperLeague) tabbed 30-year old Somalian ex-international forward Mohamed Abukar (208-85, college: San Diego State, agency: Two Points). He has a double citizenship as he also holds American passport. Abukar played most recently at Shinshu Brave Warriors Nagano in Japanese BJ League. In 45 games he averaged impressive 17.5ppg, 4.9rpg and 2.6apg last season. He can count that year as a very successful as was selected to Asia-Basket.com All-Japanese BJ League Honorable Ment... [read more]
Sigal Prishtina (SuperLeague) tabbed 30-year old Somalian ex-international forward Mohamed Abukar (208-85, college: San Diego State, agency: Two Points). He has a double citizenship as he also holds American passport. Abukar played most recently at Shinshu Brave Warriors Nagano in Japanese BJ League. In 45 games he averaged impressive 17.5ppg, 4.9rpg and 2.6apg last season. He can count that year as a very successful as was selected to Asia-Basket.com All-Japanese BJ League Honorable Mention. The most of previous (2013-14) season he spent at Lugano Tigers (LNA) in Swiss league. In 15 games he had very remarkable stats: 17.9ppg, 3.3rpg and 2.3apg in 2013-14 season. He helped them to win the league title. He can count that season as a very successful as was selected to Eurobasket.com All-Swiss LNA 3rd Team. Abukar also played at Spirou Charleroi (Scooore League) in Belgium that season. In 11 games he had 11.6ppg and 5.2rpg in 2013-14 season. He also played 8 games in Eurocup where he had 12.3ppg and 3.1rpg in 2013-14 season. The most of previous (12-13) season Abukar spent at Rabotnicki (Prva Liga) in FYR Macedonian league. In 18 games he had high stats: 18.3ppg, 5.7rpg and 1.7apg in 2012-13 season. The other team he played shortly was Lukoil Academic Sofia (NBL) in Bulgarian league. The team played in three different competitions (!!!) that year, and Abukar had a chance to explore basketball on different levels. In 7 NBL games he had 14.3ppg, 3.6rpg and 1.9apg in 2012-13 season. He also played 1 game in Euroleague where he recorded 5 points and 2 rebounds in 2012-13 season. Abukar also played 6 games in Eurocup where he had 13.8ppg, 2.5rpg and 1.0apg in 2012-13 season. In 2008 (a year after he left the college) Abukar was drafted by Austin Toros (D-League) in second round (17th overall). The former San Diego State staris in his ninth season in pro basketball. Among other achievements he received Eurobasket.com All-Macedonian League Import Player of the Year award in 2013. Abukar was a member of Somalian Senior National Team two years ago. He has played also professionally in Holland (ABC Amsterdam), Italy (AV Cantu) and D-League (Idaho Stampede and Austin Spurs).
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