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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


El-Amin thriving in Hungarian league

Muhammad El-Amin playing for his new team in Hungary.

When 2009-10 America East Player of the Year Muhammad El-Amin heard from his agent that he had offers to play professional basketball in Hungary and Morocco, he initially resisted.

It made more sense, he thought, to stay in America and try to play in the Development League of the NBA.

But his supporting cast told him that playing overseas might be his best bet, and the Seawolves standout decided to give it a go.

“I wanted to try the D-League, but that doesn’t start until November,” El-Amin said. “My agent and coaches convinced me to go try it out, and, if I didn’t like it, I could come back.”

El-Amin signed with PVSK Pannonpower Pecs, a team in the Hungarian A-Division that came in 11th out of 14 teams last season, posting a 9-17 record.

This season, featuring El-Amin, PVSK Pannon is 2-4, six games into a 26-game regular season. El-Amin, who wore number 35 for the Seawolves but now dons the number 8 jersey, leads the team with 18.4 points per game in a team-leading 34 minutes per game and is second in assists (4.2/game).

“I like making teams better,” he said.

But it wasn’t always easy. At first, El-Amin said, playing in a country where clocks are six hours ahead of those on the East Coast was difficult, but  over time he adjusted to the distance from home. “The first week was horrible for me,” he said. “I was ready to come home and couldn’t handle it. But after I knew how to get around, and faced the fact that I wasn’t going to be home for awhile, it got better.  I would just be on my computer–on Skype, or Facebook–to talk to my friends and family.”

The transition on the court was a little easier for the former Seawolves standout. Serbian head coach Mavrenski Ivica speaks English, and several teammates can speak the language too, though not so well, El-Amin said.

In addition to the language barrier, El-Amin had to adjust to a different set of rules in the European game, but said that ultimately he is a good fit for the European game and his Hungarian team.

“I can bring my style of play, and take a little from the way they play, and it will make me better,” he said.

El-Amin said he hopes to use his career in Hungary to make the jump to bigger European leagues, such as those in Italy, Spain, France or Germany, where the bigger stars–and paychecks–are found.

Then, El-Amin said, he hopes to one day make it back to the NBA.

For now,  he is enjoying his time in Europe, playing basketball and gaining life experience.

“It’s good to be over here…to see the other side of the world that some people won’t see in their lifetime,” he said.

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