IRANIAN playmaker Benny Koochoie is confident he can ably fill in the spot left by his compatriot and Iran national star playmaker Mahdi Kamrani, who decided to forego a stint with the Meralco Bolts.
“Not at all (pressured to fill in Kamrani’s shoes). Mahdi’s a great player, but I’m sure I can do the same job he can do, if not better,” the 29-year-old Koochoie told a handful of sports scribes on Thursday at the PBA head office in Libis, Quezon City.
Arriving on Wednesday from Tehran, Koochoie went to watch the Bolts tear the Alaska Aces to shreds on Thursday in a scrimmage game at the Meralco gym, 123-101, behind NBA D-League All-Star MVP Andre Emmett’s 47 points.
The 29-year-old Iranian then proceeded to the PBA’s head office for the height measurement.
Koochoie’s official height is 6-foot-1 and 15/16.
Koochoie said he would have long played for Iran in Fiba-sanctioned tournaments, but he encountered some problems with his military service.
However, growing up in the United States where he lived for 20 years, the English-speaking Iranian guard said he worked on his game after playing for Point Loma Nazarene during the 2007-2008 season where he averaged 6.6 points.
Koochoie said he was able to work out with a few NBA teams shortly after college, but was eventually released before the start of summer leagues.
“I worked out with a few (NBA) teams coming out of school, but I got released before the summer league. Definitely, it helped me become a better player,” explained Koochoie, a combo guard, who can shoot and pass.
The Iranian playmaker is coming off a stint with the Shahrdari Gorgan Municipality in Iran’s Super League, averaging 11.8 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists this past season.