Muslim Highs and Lows on NBA Draft Night

By Parvez Fatteh, Founder of,

File:  Hamady N’Diaye

The 2010 National Basketball Association draft of amateur players took place on June 24th and several Muslim college basketball players were waiting in anticipation of their names being called. But it was a night of both excitement and disappointment for Muslim basketballers. The star of the night from the Muslim contingent was clearly Wake Forest University’s Al-Farouq Aminu. The sophomore small forward was the 8th pick in the first round of the draft, selected by the Los Angeles Clippers. He is expected to get a legitimate shot at the starting small forward spot with L.A. to play alongside the 1st overall pick from last year’s draft, power forward Blake Griffin.

Florida State center Solomon Alabi took an unexpected slide in the draft. Alabi, who was born in Nigeria but moved to Orlando, Florida at age 15, was originally projected to be taken in the top 25 picks of the 1st round. But he inexplicably slid to the 50th overall pick (20th pick in the 2nd round), where he was taken by the Dallas Mavericks. Dallas subsequently sold his rights to the Toronto Raptors. An athletic, shot-blocking 7-footer like Alabi would normally have been in great demand, so this was a puzzling course of events. However, some light was shed on the situation the next day when it was revealed that Alabi had tested positive for Hepatitis B, and this medical information was disseminated to all NBA teams just prior to the draft. Alabi’s agent subsequently assured all parties that this is positive test is a common occurrence for people from the African continent, and that it would be treatable without interfering with his performance.

Rutgers center Hamady N’Diaye was selected approximately where he was projected. He was taken with the 56th overall pick by the Minnesota Timberwolves and subsequently traded to the Washington Wizards. N’Diaye, a Senegal native, should have a decent shot at playing time in a young Washington frontcourt.

A 4th member of the Muslim contingent, however, did not get drafted. St. Mary’s center Omar Samhan went the entire two-round draft without getting selected. However, this does allow the 6’11” Samhan to find the best possible team situation for him. And he has now signed a free agent contract with the Dallas Mavericks, giving him the opportunity to play on their summer league team, with hopes of impressing Dallas and all of the other teams with his play.


1 reply
  1. Salim Finan
    Salim Finan says:

    I believe that Alabi is a Christian, he was wearing a cross when introduced by the Toronto Raptors.