Kareem thinking gridiron while playing hoops

Sylvan Hill's Kaming Kareem will play football in college, but spend this weekend trying to lead his AAU basketball team to a 17-and-under state championship.

Normally Sylvan Hills' two-sport standout Kaming Kareem might be front and center at Saturday morning's FCA football combine in Little Rock's War Memorial Stadium, but instead he'll be busy finishing up what he started on the basketball court last weekend.

The 5-8, 163-pound Kaming, who is being recruited by the Razorback football program as an athlete, has led his Arkansas Lakers into the semifinals of the Arkansas 17-and-under AAU state basketball tournament at Philander Smith College.

The Lakers will take on the Arkansas Wings around 10:30 a.m. after the completion of the other semifinal round game between the Arkansas Angels and Arkansas Legends that begins at 9 a.m.

The losers will then play at 2:30 for the third berth to the AAU National Championships with the championship game slated for 4 p.m.

"I think we have a very good team and can win it," Kareem said. "We played really well last weekend, won two of our three games and should have won all three games. Maybe this can be our weekend."

Kareem, who boast 4.43 speed in the 40-yard dash, has been an excellent point guard for Sylvan Hills the past two years and led his squad to the Class AAAA state championship game this past March.

But he does not harbor any two-sport aspirations for college and knows football will be his path on the next level.

"I'm pretty good in basketball, but I'm better in football and that is where I am getting most of my recruiting attention from and definitely what I am going to play in college," Kareem said.

He's getting some attention from well-known college football programs.

"There's Arkansas, Iowa, Michigan, Colorado, Miami, Florida and Alabama who have all contacted me and all seem very interested," Kareem said. "But I haven't really thought about football recruiting that much so far."

Kareem lined up at tailback, wingback, cornerback and safety and has also been a game-breaking kick returner for the Bears, who lost in the 2002 state championship football game.

"I think what I have done best the past two seasons is use my speed and my cutting ability and not let people get a clear shot on me," Kareem said. "I don't view my size as a detriment, but something that allows me to do a lot of things along with my speed."

Colleges see him as an athlete that could play in a variety of spots.

"They all talk about me being an athlete and playing wingback, wide receiver or cornerback," Kareem said. "I guess I'll just get there and see where I fit in or where they most need me."

Because his AAU basketball schedule will keep him from attending week-long camps, Kareem will instead attend one-day football camps at Arkansas and Tulsa and maybe Iowa.

"I really like Arkansas coaches and their facilities and have been to some of their games and like what I have seen of their program," Kareem said.

His basketball will allow him to stay in good condition and he hopes to add strength during the summer.

"There is always something you can be doing to get better every day," Kareem said. "That is what I am all about."

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