With Glenn Robinson III and Nik Stauskas heading to the NBA, the Michigan Wolverines lost no time in looking for late pickups for the 2014 class. Late signees tend to have an accelerated version of their recruitment, and Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman was no exception. He visited Ann Arbor over the weekend, John Beilein extended an offer, and Abdur-Rahkman jumped on it immediately.
Just who is Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman? He is a 6’4 shooting guard from Allentown, Pennsylvania. The incoming freshman has some impressive accolades, being an all-stater for four years in a row while setting his school’s record for most points scored in a career. Abdur-Rahkman played for Central Catholic High School, averaging 23 points, 6 rebounds, and four assists a game.
Despite his impressive resume, most recruiting sites have him listed as a 2-star. ESPN has him listed as the 101st best shooting guard in the nation, although they have him as the 9th best prospect out of Pennsylvania. The second most prestigious offer Abdur-Rahkman had was from Virginia Commonwealth, of the famed “havoc” defense.
His scouting video is exactly the one you would think of for a player with the stats of Abdur-Rahkman. He relishes difficult shots, often pulling up with a man in his face. There were some makes, but there were definitely some misses. He looks to be a high volume player, but he won’t have to take these shots in Michigan’s offense, so he’ll just make the transition from the focal point to a sidekick role.
This isn’t to say Abdur-Rahkman is a selfish player. His assist numbers show this, and this is corroborated with the video. Abdur-Rahkman has a knack for finding the open man, either with a highlight reel no look or a simple bounce pass.
His fundamentals are very solid. He has good form, and gets into his shot very quickly. He has some ball-handling skills, but he can be a little loose with the basketball. This is often alleviated with a quick first step, and he looks to be a slasher that can get to the cup with ease. For those going to miss the dunks Robinson and Stauskas brought, Abdur-Rahkman will help ease the pain a little bit. He uses his 6’4 frame to get long-armed dunks, even in traffic.
His role with the Wolverines is somewhat up in the air. He could take a redshirt, or he could be one of the guards off the bench. A lot has to do with where the coaches want to put DJ Wilson and Kameron Chatman. If Mitch McGary returns, he and Mark Donnal will lock down the post spots. If Chatman or Wilson can spell Zak Irvin at the 3, Irvin may be able to slide up to the two when Caris LeVert is out. If these two pick up minutes at the small forward, Abdur-Rahkman may not play.
On the other side of that, Michigan doesn’t have a lot of backup guards currently. Zak Irvin, Caris LeVert and Derrick Walton, Jr. will presumably all start. Other than that, the only scholarship backup is Spike Albrecht. Abdur-Rahkman could be the backup shooting guard for the backcourt.
As many fans remember fondly, John Beilein has had a lot of success with late signees. He snatched up Caris LeVert after he decommitted from Ohio, and the sophomore is now projected to be an All-Big Ten player. Another, Spike Albrecht, had only one other Division 1 offer. He ended up scoring 17 points in the National Championship.
Part of this has to deal with Beilein and staff’s ability to uncover players people have previously overlooked. Yet it also speaks to the ability of the staff (LaVall Jordan specifically) to turn these overlooked prospects into great players.
Abdur-Rahkman has one more star than Albrecht had, and the same number of stars as LeVert. However, ESPN gave both a higher “Scout Grade” than Abdur-Rahkman. Either way, expect Abdur-Rahkman to develop into at least a solid role player at Michigan.