J.P. Prince, who played 31 games for the Arizona Wildcats before transferring to Tennessee, had been playing professionally in Iran this season.
However, Chris Mannix of Yahoo reported Sunday afternoon that Prince is unable to return to his professional team after Iran imposed a ban on U.S. citizens entering their country. The ban is in retaliation to Donald Trump’s executive order that prevents refugees and citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries — including Iran — from entering the U.S.
Prince, along with former Texas A&M player Joseph Jones, are now stranded in Dubai. The two were there on a team-funded break.
“We are waiting for clarity from the team,” Eric Fleisher, the agent for both Prince and Jones, said. “It’s tough. It doesn’t look like they can finish the season in Iran. It’s not good to be out of a job. Secondarily, all their things are in Iran. They can’t go back and get them. It’s been difficult.”
Jones and Prince are teammates on Azad University Tehran, which is part of the Iran Super League. According to Tim Cato, they are both in their first year with the team, and will lose a six figure salary because of this new policy that keeps American citizens out of Iran.
Prince had averaged just 2.1 points per game while at Arizona, but upped that to 9.4 points per contest in his three years at Tennessee. He also averaged 3.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.4 steals per game with the Vols.
Basketball is arguably the most global of the sports in this day and age, so international tensions have great impact on players and franchises in any league. Sports Illustrated’s Michael McCann examined what this means for the NBA, which of course has teams in multiple countries. We’ve also seen the human impact it has on practicing muslims, like former Wildcat Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.
This is not separate from sports. It’s having a profound impact on sports, particularly basketball. And now two American citizens, one of which used to play basketball at The University of Arizona, currently have no job and nowhere to call home because of policies being enacted by the President of the United States.