Cinderella Hopes Alive For Oregon Facing UVA Tonight, Partly Due To Egyptian Transplant Ehab Ahim

Ezra ShawGetty Images

Ehab Amin traveled 7,000 miles from Alexandria, Egypt, with stops in Wisconsin and Texas, before landing in Eugene, Oregon. The Oregon Ducks basketball team is thankful he made the trip.

The fifth-year senior provided the “pivotal spark” that was instrumental in the Ducks’ victory over UC Irvine Monday, giving them their third trip to the Sweet Sixteen in four years, according to the Associated Press. After going more than seven minutes without scoring to start the second half and squandering all of a 12-point lead, Amin came off the bench to a knock down a quick 3-pointer and change the tide of the game.

Oregon went on a 15-3 run and never looked back. Their 73-54 victory ended the Anteaters 17-game winning streak, and made the Ducks the lone double-digit seed in the tournament.

“He came in and hit a big shot,” Oregon coach Dana Altman told the press.

Altman also praised Amin’s defensive and rebounding skills. Amin finished the game with 12 points, six rebounds, and three steals.

Since Altman took over in 2010, Oregon has qualified for the NCAA Tournament six times, with a trip to the Elite 8 in 2016 and the Final Four in 2017.

While Oregon’s basketball program has become accustomed to the pressures of the NCAA Tournament, Amin’s transition to the U.S. came with a bit of culture shock. After being named the MVP of the under-16 African championship in 2011 and again in 2012, Amin came to St. John’s Military Academy in Delafield, Wisconsin, to work on his grades, and to pursue his dream of playing basketball in America, according to the AP.

An injury kept him from playing that season, and managing the frigid Wisconsin winter with no other Egyptians around and a heavy accent was a difficult trial for the 17-year-old.

“I mean, it was all for basketball, and I knew that was why I was here,” Amin told the AP.

Amin chose Texas A&M Corpus Christi to start his collegiate career. In the 2016-17 season, he averaged 16.9 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. His average of 3.4 steals per game and his 124 steals that year ranked as the best in the nation.

Ehab Amin dives for basketball.
Featured image credit: Ezra ShawGetty Images

Altman asked him to spend his senior year in Eugene, Oregon, to play for the Ducks and Amin once again found himself a stranger in a strange land.

“It’s been really different and tough for me,” Amin told the AP. “But I think everywhere I go my teammates do a good job of like blending me in. I spend most of my time with them.”

The 6’4″ guard averaged 5.8 points and 3.1 rebounds a game this season, usually coming off the bench when the Ducks need a spark.

Tonight the Oregon Ducks will face the top-seeded UVA Cavaliers.

Tip-off is scheduled for 9:57 pm and will be broadcast on TBS.