Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)
Drexel has completed its 2014-15 roster with the addition of a fifth-year transfer, UCLA’s Sooren Derboghosian.
The 6-foot-10, 255-pound Iranian native committed to the Dragons on Saturday, where he’ll be immediately eligible as a fifth-year transfer who’s completed his undergraduate degree.
“It was a great campus, the coaches, and I felt that Drexel was the best place for me, to go there for one year and get better and help my teammates, help the team win and hopefully go from there,” he said. “Meeting with coach Flint, I was very welcome.”
He chose the West Philadelphia institution over overtures from Loyola (Ill.), Grand Canyon, Saint Joseph’s and a few others.
Derboghosian first moved across the Atlantic Ocean four years ago from his hometown of Tehran, and has enjoyed his time in the States. Though he’s a native of Iran, he’s of Armenian descent, and both of those countries have a significant representation in the City of Brotherly Love.
“It’s been great, it’s been a great experience and opportunity,” he said about living in the U.S. “I’m looking forward to move to Philadelphia, with a lot of Iranians and Armenians over there.”
The first Iranian player in the history of UCLA basketball, Derboghosian is a member of Iran’s national team, with whom he’ll be competing for the world championships this summer.
At UCLA, where he transferred after spending two years at Glendale (Calif.) CC, he averaged 0.5 ppg and 0.3 rpg in four games back in 2012-13 before not appearing in a single contest last season. In his last full year of competition, as a sophomore at Glendale, he averaged 9.1 ppg and 8.1 rpg.
He joins a young Drexel frontcourt that was expected to start sophomores Mohamed Bah and Rodney Williams with incoming freshmen Austin Williams as well as Tyshawn Myles expected to provide depth behind them. The Dragons were in need of another forward due to an offseason injury to rising senior Kazembe Abif that will keep him out for the whole year.
Though he’s not guaranteed a starting spot, with both Bah and Williams enjoying promising freshman seasons in the Colonial Athletic Association, he’s expected to join the rotation of big men to provide additional size and depth, as well as some experience.
“I will bring toughness, I will bring the experience that I have from UCLA and I will do whatever it takes to help my teammates, my team, my coaches,” he said, “be it better leadership, everything that I have learned throughout my career at UCLA and at the other schools that I played at, and for my national team, all that experience.”