Eugene, Ore. -- "Out of all the schools I took visits at and was looking at, I felt like Oregon was probably the best fit and they hit all the checklist things that I wanted", says Ehab Amin, Oregon's graduate transfer guard.
His hoops journey started nearly 7000 miles away in Egpyt, a place not exactly known for basketball.
"Everybody there grows up playing soccer, watches soccer, the whole country's culture is around soccer," Amin explains. "But probably around 15, 16 I played one of the main tournaments with my national team in Africa and we won the tournament and I was named MVP."
As he started playing more and more life began to change, while his own country was changing in front of him. Amin was on a youth national team, traveling throughout Europe and Africa when spontaneous protests broke out in major cities around the Egypt. Activists and citizens sought to transition the country from the rule of Hosni Mubarak to a more democratic form of government, leading to what is now known as the Arab Spring.
"So that part was kind of crazy," Amin recalls. "We had curfew. People weren't allowed to leave their house after 6:00, 7:00 so our whole family came together and like stuck together throughout that whole part. It was kind of scary a little bit, I know a couple people and a couple family members that got hurt, got shot at."
Amin's family were among the fortunate ones, as the government transitioned to the rule of Mohamed Morsi, and eventually Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Despite the unrest in his own country, his travels in basketball eventually brought him to the United States, where he played first for Texas A&M Corpus Christi, and then Oregon: moves supported by his family. His mom even made out to a couple of Duck games.
"I have a really good support system and I don't know where I would be without my Mom and Dad," Amin says. "They still wake up, 3...4...whenever the game is to watch, call me before the game, after the game, text me. So I feel like I'm a lot fortunate."
The seniors goals go far beyond excelling on the court for himself and his family, though. He sees Egypt's biggest sports star, Mo Salah, and the inspiration he has been for young soccer players in the country, and hopes he can be the same one day, only in basketball instead.
"That's definitely one of my goals and dreams. Credit to Mo Salah, he set the tone, everybody in Egypt loves him not just on the court or on the field but off the field too. And definitely that's one of my goals in the future or the near future to tell everybody back home that they can do it and they just gotta pursue their dreams and their gonna make it."
It's that desire that drives Amin, even now in Eugene. Despite a slow non-conference schedule, Amin finished strong, leading the team with 23 points in the Ducks road win over Boise State. With injuries and the departure of star center Bol Bol, he will be looked to more and more as the Pac-12 season rolls on.
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