By Marty Gordon
Radford native Scottie Hendricks has been playing professional basketball in Iran for the past month, but recent incidents in the Middle East have forced him to come home to the United States. On Sunday, Hendricks called the situation very “unsettling at this time.”
In a Facebook post, Hendricks said “I am currently safe and will be returning home ASAP! Despite the current situation, I ask that you keep all innocent parties in your prayers. Iran showed me a lot of love and is still doing everything in their power to protect me and bring me home safely. I have love for Iran as should you. My safety is number one priority and I just wanted to reflect that I appreciate all the prayers and calls and concerns.”
InNovember, Hendricks signed a contract to play in Iran’s super league.
“I signed with this league after long discussions with my agent about where we thought would best benefit my career going forward. Collectively we thought this was a great option as it’s a new country, new continent and its exposure to a high-level market,” Hendricks said.
Hendricks was a member of the Radford High School team that played in the 2009 state championship and also played at King College before venturing into a pro career. This summer, he had a lot of interest from teams in Iceland, Norway, Finland, Portugal, Romania and Canada.
“Out of all of my options, financially and career advancement was the determining factor in my choice to sign with the Iranian Super league,” he said.
Last year, he played in the top league of Norway, gaining his first all-star vote when he averaged 27.2 points per game, led the league in scoring, was second in steals per game and was in the top 10 in assists.His efficiency rating was eighth in the league.
This is his fifth professional season, and in his opinion, the most important one. “I have reached a new level and want to continue to learn and be the best player I can each and every year,” he said.
As recent events have shown, his signing with a league and a team in the Middle East does come with some questions because of the relationship between Iran and the United States. At the time of his signing, Hendrick felt it was safe to play there.
“Iran is a beautiful country. After speaking with my agent and my team president, I thought It would be best to talk to some of the American imports who have played in this league,” Hendricks said. “All ensured me it was safe, and most are returning because of how well they were treated. Those who aren’t returning are making a great living in other markets.
“Personally, my feelings are that I cannot be afraid of opportunities. Furthermore, I cannot allow political reasons keep me from exploring for myself. I think the profession and sport I am involved in brings a lot of cultures and people together.”