Saturday, September 7, 2013
ESPN 100 power forward picks NC State
By Paul Biancardi
North Carolina State pulled off a major coup in landing ESPN 100 prospect Abdul-Malik Abu, one of the nation's most improved power forwards. The 41st-ranked prospect in the 2014 class chose the Wolfpack over Florida, Connecticut and Providence. He took official visits to Florida and NC State, then made his decision.
Abu and longtime travel teammate Jared Terrell (Weymouth, Mass./Brewster Academy), announced their decisions side by side at a Saturday afternoon news conference. Terrell, an ESPN 100 shooting guard, picked Oklahoma State.
Why he committed: Abu sees the Wolfpack as an ideal fit and was extremely comfortable with head coach Mark Gottfried.
"He made me feel very comfortable as a person and a player," Abu said.
Abdul-Malik Abu is excited about playing in the ACC for NC State.
It's a year of realignment and the Atlantic Coast Conference is stacked with traditional powers such as Duke and North Carolina, along with the addition of Syracuse, Notre Dame and Pittsburgh. Some tab it as the nation's best conference.
"The ACC excites me and I see a big opportunity for me to impact and develop at NC State," Abu said.
What he brings: Abu is powerful player who beats people up inside the paint by scoring, rebounding and blocking shots and playing with a high motor. Versatility is quickly becoming a calling card for him as his skills have blossomed over the summer. He now is productive and is a threat by driving or making jumpers from the high post or short wing area. He brings plenty of leadership with his work ethic, which extends into the locker room. When our rankings come out in a couple of weeks, Abu has a good chance to move up based on his strong performances against the best competition all summer.
How he fits: Gottfried is known for running the UCLA high post shuffle cut offense, which is a forward-based offense in its approach. The forwards are one of the primary scoring options and have the responsibility to score at the high post and on the low post with a duck-in. The forwards also are asked to make assists and handle the ball at the high post, so versatility is a must. Abu has all the physical traits and improved skills to excel well in this system. Defensively, he can guard the paint with his physical frame and block some shots while being a constant on the glass.
Who he reminds us of: Thomas Robinson, who played at Kansas, a lottery pick who now plays with the Portland Trail Blazers.
Abu is high-energy with a physically imposing body who rebounds first and foremost, runs the floor and goes to the blocks to start, then works his way out on the perimeter. Like Robinson, his offensive moves inside need work and his face-up game needs development, but there is a tremendous amount to work with.
How the class is shaping up: Along with the twins Caleb and Cody Martin, NC State has the wing position covered as well as the power forward spot. There's plenty of versatility and scoring punch with this trio, as the Wolfpack continue to stay hot on the recruiting trail and remain relevant in the ACC. They might have their best player sitting out as Trevor Lacey left Alabama and will be eligible next season. He is an elite shooting guard.