How he got here
Last May, Nigeria native Abdul Ado — a February, 2014, arrival who plays high school ball in Chattanooga, Tenn. — commanded attention with strong performances on the travel circuit. I first watched him in the 16-under division of the Hampton EYBL event, and he impressed there as well as at the Gibbons TOC earlier in the month.
Right away, Ado served notice that he’d factor in to high-major conversations for the remainder of his prep career. The travel circuit continued to proceed smoothly. After touring with the Georgia Stars in Hampton, his genuine breakthrough occurred at the Reebok Breakout Classic.
|Ado’s unflappable demeanor reminds of 1980s-era Georgetown centers|
There, playing in front of college coaches during the July live period, Ado got the better of some bigger, more experienced opponents. By the end of the following week, he held offers from Vanderbilt, Louisville, Tennessee and Memphis.
Ado joined the Atlanta Celtics for the Adidas Super 64 later that month, engaging in intense, highly physical tournament contests that further enhanced his reputation. As I wrote following a narrow playoff defeat to loaded Dreamvision:
”Rising with a bullet, Ado quickly has established himself as one of the premier post defenders in the country. He gave Chase Jeter all sorts of trouble with his length, quick leaping ability, left hand blocking style and lean strength. Ado doesn't yet bring much to the table offensively, but he did snare one offensive rebound high above the rim and then utilized a head fake and short turnaround jumper to convert. That suggests that a year from now he could be far more of a complete player.”
That synopsis continues to hold. Ado is a defensive master who blocks shots prolifically and appears to relish contact. He stands a solid 6-10, 225 pounds, but more importantly he competes with a voracious attitude. He doesn’t attempt to float on the perimeter or attempt ballhandling trickery that’s currently outside his grasp.
He’s our No. 27 junior prospect heading into late winter with the potential to rise even further.
To 2015. …
We know Ado can block shots, rebound and ably provide a team’s interior enforcement. Those qualities alone would keep him atop high-major wish lists.
According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, as of last month Ado was averaging 10 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks per contest. Clearly, his offensive game remains a work in progress, and that’s the area we’ll observe most closely this year.
It’s not that we expect Ado to become a polished interior scorer during his high school career, but the key is that he shows progress. Maybe it’s a short hook shot, expanded face-up range or simply more accurate free throws. The bottom line: Will he exhibit signs of hope for eventually becoming a viable post scoring option?
Make no mistake, however. Ado could become a freshman starter for a major college program on the basis of his defense, athleticism and toughness alone. His ability to affect games with his natural gifts nearly ensures a sustained and prosperous career in the sport.
From here, we’ll all be eager to observe whether he can advance into something even more imposing.