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Spotlight On Khalid El-Amin

BasketballUniversity of ConnecticutRestaurants

UConn career highlights: Spontaneously and emphatically, El-Amin announced UConn had "shocked the world" while running around in celebration after the Huskies defeated Duke in the 1999 national championship game. He had made two clutch free throws in the closing seconds to create the final score, 77-74.

As the point guard on the Huskies first national championship team, and a perfect scoring and creating complement to Richard Hamilton, El-Amin will always be viewed as one of the most influential players in program history. He is eighth on UConn's all-time list for career assists and finished his three-year run with scoring average of 15.3 points (1,650 for his career, ninth all-time).

El-Amin was an immediate contributor and remarkably consistent, averaging 16 points in 1997-98, 13.8 in 1998-99 and 16 in 1999-00.

Professional career: El-Amin, 5 feet 10, was drafted by the Bulls in the second round (34th overall) in the 2000 NBA draft. He averaged 6.3 points and 2.9 assists for Chicago in 50 games but was waived during the 2000-01 season.

There was a brief stint with the Heat before the start of what has become a long overseas career.

There have been stops in Ukraine, Turkey, Israel and France. El-Amin's wife and seven children – ages 18 months to 13 years – travel the world with him. He is the reigning MVP of the Ukraine Super League. He averaged 20.5 points last season for Budivelnyk Kyiv, according to eurobasket.com.El-Amin, 31, says he has had offers to try out for NBA teams – and still won't rule out doing so before he retires – but he is content with his overseas career, making good money and supporting his family.

"There have been a few times when I've had the opportunity to come back [to the United States]," El-Amin said Saturday before the Jim Calhoun Charity All-Star Game at Mohegan Sun Arena. "But the numbers didn't add up."

Personal: El-Amin came to UConn from Minneapolis, Minn., where he now owns a restaurant, "El-Amin's Fish House."

He maintains a strong relationship with Calhoun. "I owe him so much," El-Amin said.

A scary time: While playing Turkey a few years ago, a bomb was planted in an apartment in his neighborhood, and it exploded.

"'I want to go home, I want to go home,'" El-Amin said. "That's the first thing you say. But you have a job to do and a contract to honor."

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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