While Alzhan Zharmukhamedov might not quite be a household name in the post-Soviet era and Kazakhstan is hardly a European nation readily associated with top-flight basketball, this nation is hoping that the former Olympic and EuroBasket champion can change all that.
The Kazakh Academy of Sports and Tourism yesterday announced that a revamped national basketball academy would be headed up by Zharmukhamedov. Working from a seven-year plan, the retired USSR player has shown his dedication to the project by moving from his long-time Moscow home for Almaty. It must be noted that the medalist has some way to go in creating a viable program, as Team Kazakhstan couldn’t even manage to squeak into the recent FIBA Asia Olympic qualifying tournament.
Zharmukhamedov played for the Soviet Union national team between 1967 and 1979, as well as professionally with CSKA Moscow from ’69 to ’79. Through 1989, Zharmukhamedov also served in various assistant coaching positions for Team USSR. His medal collection as a player includes four golds – including the infamous 1972 Olympic victory over Team USA – two silvers and two bronzes.