He pitched the opportunity to Kazemi's parents, but given the political tensions between the United States and Iran, they worried about how their son would be received.
"To be honest, I didn't want to come," Kazemi said. "I told my family there's no way I'm going there by myself. All my friends were in Iran, I didn't know where I was going or what my life would be like."
His faith in Ibrahim along with the opportunity to study and play basketball persuaded Kazemi to agree.
Securing a student visa was the next challenge. The U.S. hasn't had an embassy in Iran since the hostage crisis more than 30 years ago.
It took six months before Kazemi landed in the U.S. in February 2008. At the time, he didn't speak English and he was held at the airport for seven hours of questioning by immigration officers.
"They kept asking me 'What are you doing here? Are you a terrorist?' And if I was here to harm the country."
Kazemi enrolled at The Patterson prep school in North Carolina, easing his homesickness by talking to his mother every day.
"It was really hard on me, I knew just enough English to get by in school," he said. "I was so homesick I carried my laptop everywhere to talk with my mom. I was nicknamed the 'laptop guy.'
"It was so bad, he would be on Skype in the car, in the mall, in the gym," Ibrahim added. "At one point we said 'OK that's enough put the laptop down tell Mom nice talkin' to ya. You're going to be OK'."
He was missing home, but Kazemi was taking the basketball court by storm and college coaches were noticing.
Upon graduating from Patterson, Kazemi was heavily recruited by college teams and offered scholarships across the nation. He chose the academically prestigious Rice University in Houston, which has a large Iranian community and is where Ibrahim lived.
During his three years there, he led his Conference in rebounding and ranked among the top three rebounders nationwide.
He says he also came face to face with the type of situation that had concerned him before he left Iran.
After his junior year, he asked for and received a National Collegiate Athletic Association hardship waiver to transfer to Oregon where he competed in his senior year.
According to Sports Illustrated, the hardship had to do with derogatory comments allegedly made by the Rice athletic director based on ethnicity and religion. Kazemi is Muslim.
"He made some comments that made me uncomfortable," said Kazemi, who declined to specify what the comments were. "I was approaching an important year and I wanted to focus on basketball without worrying about what he was saying."
The athletic director, Rick Greenspan, who has since left Rice himself, denied any allegations of discriminatory treatment during Kazemi's time at Rice.
With the Ducks, Kazemi got lots of playtime and instantly became a fan favorite.
"If you're an athlete in Oregon they treat you like a celebrity," Kazemi said. "I got to experience having a home crowd. It's an amazing feeling when you hear 12,000 people chanting your name."
Fans were intrigued by his superstar ability on the court, but also his facial hair. At games, students would wear fake handlebar mustaches to support their favorite player.