Arizona Basketball

Ex-Arizona Wildcats report: Chris Rodgers back in professional basketball under a different name





Chris Rodgers, who goes by Mahmoud Abdul-Awwel now, joined a pro team in Nogales, Sonora, last week

Chris Rodgers, who goes by Mahmoud Abdul-Awwel now, joined a pro team in Nogales, Sonora, last week (Fuerza Guinda de Nogales photo)

Much has changed with Chris Rodgers, most noticeably his name, since Arizona’s followers last saw him during his turbulent season with the Wildcats in 2005-06.

Rodgers, a former Arizona guard, officially changed his name to Mahmoud Abdul-Awwel on March 18 in Tucson.

The last Arizona fans saw of Abdul-Awwel he was finishing a 2005-06 season that included his suspension from the team by Lute Olson for undisclosed disciplinary violations. He later re-joined the team to complete the season.

After professional stops in Mexico, Morocco, Hungary and Romania, Abdul-Awwel, 29, is playing professionally in Mexico again as part of the country’s CIBACOPA league. He signed with Nogales last week and has played two games. Abdul-Awwel is the 29th former Arizona basketball player to compete professionally either in the NBA, the NBA’s Developmental League or in a foreign land in the 2012-13 season.

Over the years, Abdul-Awwel has matured and weathered the difficulties not only of his Arizona career, but his professional pursuits. Four years ago, he was invited to the NBA Summer League by the Phoenix Suns, who scratched him from their roster before the games began in Las Vegas. He has toiled overseas and is now playing for an obscure league in Mexico, but he is playing with a level head.

In his two games with Fuerza Guinda de Nogales, Abdul-Awwel is shooting 52.6 percent from the field and averaging 14.5 points.

More notes on ex-Wildcats playing professionally:

Jamelle Horne is playing well enough to get an invite to the NBA Summer League

Jamelle Horne is playing well enough to get an invite to the NBA Summer League

— Another former UA player who played in a different Mexican professional league earlier this season — forward Jamelle Horne — is now playing for a pro team in Puerto Rico. He is averaging 15.7 points and 8.3 rebounds after three games with Humacao. After also playing well in Mexico — averaging 20.1 points and 6.4 rebounds for Mexicali — Horne could receive an invite to this year’s NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, which starts the first week of July.

The NBA Summer League could feature at least six former Arizona players this year: Horne, Solomon Hill, Kevin Parrom (who announced last night he will not a seek a fifth-year of eligibility), Mark Lyons, Jesse Perry and Kyle Fogg.

Scouts from the NBA and foreign professional leagues attend the NBA Summer League.

Hassan Adams is shooting 63.5 percent from the field for Guaros de Lara in Venezuela

Hassan Adams is shooting 63.6 percent from the field for Guaros de Lara in Venezuela

Salim Stoudamire remains a teammate of former UA teammate Hassan Adams with Venezuela’s Guaros de Lara team, but he is inactive because of an injured right hand.

Stoudamire has played in only five games with Guaros de Lara and averages 19.2 minutes and 7.8 points a game. His post Arizona career has been beset by injuries, including a pulled groin injury that knocked him out of the NBA.

Adams has emerged as one of the best players in the Venezuelan league. During one recent four-game stretch, Adams made 29 of 36 field goal attempts, none of them coming from three-point range. He averaged 14.5 points during that stretch. He averages 15 points and shoots 63.6 percent as a wing player.

Adams has become more aggressive with his game not settling for three-pointers. He has tried only 11 three-pointers, making two, in 28 games for Guaros de Lara.

ARIZONA PLAYERS IN THE NBA
Updated April 10
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a–Hill is out the remainder of the season with a hip injury
c–Frye is out this season because of an enlarged heart treatable with rest.

ARIZONA PLAYERS INTERNATIONALLY & D-LEAGUE
Stats provided by EuroBasket.com. Updated April 10
If more than one team is listed, second listed team is current
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a–Williams has been suspended six months by the Chinese Basketball League for failing a drug test
b–Wright goes by Ali Karadeniz, his Turkish name
c–Rodgers now goes by Mahmoud Abdul-Awwel
Note–Mohamed Tangara (at UA from 2005-08) plays professionally in Angola but that league is out of season.

Site publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner

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