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07 December 2018 | in FISU Athletes, Basketball 3x3, 3x3 World University League

Athlete in Focus: Shayan Pourkaveh is on the ball

The man with the incredible shot at the World University League Finals

 

When some of the best plays of the 3x3 FISU World University League Finals are discussed in the years to come, Iran’s Shayan Pourkaveh will be remembered for an outrageous shot that made the commentators jump in their seats and ask the producers for a replay. Completely off-balance, teetering on the brink of stepping out of bounds, Shayan took aim at the basket from well outside the 2-point line and even as he fell on court with a thud, the ball landed smoothly into the basket. The commentators were incredulous and Shayan himself was left with a bemused smile on his face.

 

 

When asked about it, he explains that grin. “I was thanking my teammate who gave me that bad pass,” he laughs. “Because that’s what caused that crazy shot.”

 

Unfortunately for Shayan, that 2-pointer didn’t change the course of the match as Payame Noor University of Iran lost 20-18 to University of Auckland. It was their only loss in the group stages of the tournament though, as they topped the Pool B table going into the knockouts.

 

“I think my team is really good,” Shayan says of their quarterfinal finish. “But we don’t have much experience and we need more time to be better at 3x3. I believe 3x3 basketball is much more difficult than regular basketball”.

 

Payame Noor University finished a creditable 6th among a field of 16 of the very best university 3x3 teams from around the world that competed in this tournament in November 2018. In last year’s edition they had finished in the top 5.

 

Clearly, this team from West Asia is capable of keeping pace with the best in the world. Shayan credits that to basketball being very popular back home.

 

“Basketball is very popular in Iran,” he says. “We do have some limitations when it comes to sponsorship and such, but we play at a good level.”

 

In fact, despite knowing that they are playing at the very top level, Shayan was still quite surprised at the quality of play and level of competition in Xiamen, China, where the Finals were held for a fourth time.

 

“I think the games were too hard,” he jokes. “All the teams were very good. But playing in Xiamen is really fantastic. It was my second time there and I think it is a very nice city with lovely people. The best part of this tournament though, is discovering the different cultures of all the countries that participate.”

 

Back home in Iran now, Shayan is busy with classes at university and keeping his ball skills on point. “I’m studying Physical Education at Payame Noor University,” Shayan tells FISU. “But my sport is the most important thing for me.”

 

“I started playing basketball back at school and I really liked it. That has not changed. Now I’m 187cm tall and still love playing shooting guard and point guard.”

 

Much like his idol James Harden, he adds. Shayan says he loves watching NBA star James Harden playing and tries to emulate his technique. One look at Shayan’s full beard and it is clear that technique is not the only thing he copies from the ‘Fear the Beard’ Harden.

 

Perhaps he should send the video of that amazing shot from the World University League Finals to James Harden and have his idol appreciate his moves, for a change.