The University of Idaho senior forward Arkadiy Mkrtychyan has been putting in minutes on the basketball court this summer, nearly 9,000 miles away.
Mkrtychyan has been suiting up for his home squad, Team Armenia, in the qualifying rounds of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 European Pre-Qualifiers.
Since Aug. 2, the team has been competing in pre-cup qualifying rounds to determine whether or not it will receive a bid to the international contest hosted in China in the summer of 2019.
Prior to Aug. 2, 24 of 32 teams had already qualified for the tournament. Armenia was one of the 13 teams that had to compete in a home-and-away round robin tournament featuring six games in 17 days to decide the final eight qualifiers.
Mkrtychyan and his team were unable to seal a spot in the upcoming FIBA tournament. The team started strong at 3-1 but went on to lose the next two games and were eliminated on the final day. Armenia finished with a 3-3 record.
Mkrtychyan was not a consistent starter for Team Armenia, but he did start two contests and received considerable time off the bench, playing just over 20 minutes per game.
In the game one win over Slovak Republic, Mkrtychyan recorded the fourth highest point total in the game, netting 14 points to go along with five boards. Three days later, he contributed seven points in an 82-69 victory over Sweden, the top qualifying team in Armenia’s group.
The team lost its first game to the Bosnia and Herzegovina squad, 98-85, a contest in which Mkrtychyan dropped nine points to go along with four boards and three assists.
On Aug. 12 Armenia improved to 3-1 with another win over Slovak Republic, 92-78. In what was Mkrtychyan’s best game of the tournament, and first one in which he started, he recorded 15 points, five rebounds and had a team-high three steals.
The team lost its next two contests to Sweden, 93-70, and again to Bosnia and Herzegovina, 83-66 to end the tournament.
Mkrtychyan averaged 10 points and four rebounds per game in his international stint, numbers comparable to those of his Vandal career.
With some international experience under his belt, Mkrtychyan will once again return to the starting lineup for Vandal basketball this fall, where he will continue to make his impact on a local court.
Colton Clark can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @coltonclark95