It seems like only yesterday that Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman was an unheralded basketball recruit surveying low-major options. Now the cat-quick combo guard is a few months into his transition at the University of Michigan and he has the looks of a youngster that will be a contributor for a high-major program in his freshman year.
“I think (the exhibition tour in Italy) went well,” Abdur-Rahkman said. “I think it went well for everybody. It was a great trip. We got a lot of game experience. It was a great trip.”
“I think I lead the team in getting to the free throw line.”
Indeed he did with 25 trips to the charity stripe (Caris LeVert was second on the tour with 14). Abdur-Rahkman’s ability to get to the rim could be a valuable asset for a team that lost some of that with Nik Stauskas’ early departure to the NBA.
“I think that could be something I could help,” he said. “There are people on the team who can do that too but I think I can help getting to the foul line a little bit more and getting the bonus.”
“(I bring) Versatility on both ends of the field, I think. The coaches say that’s what I could add. (I’m) just waiting until the games and be called upon to help our team succeed.”
In the meantime the soft-spoken freshman is focusing on honing his skills in practice against a number of his battle-tested teammates.
“I think I’ve been doing decent,” Abdur-Rahkman said recalling the match-ups. “We definitely get after it on one-on-ones. You don’t want anybody to score on you and you want to score on the other person. It’s heated and it’s just a great competition.”
“(There is) a lot of versatility on the team, a lot of guys who do different stuff and not just one dimensional people. A lot of people can get to the basket, a lot of people can shoot, a lot of people can rebound, and I think it would be just a great team.”
Much of the team’s potential rests on the development of the freshman. That a reality not lost on the veteran Wolverines who were themselves counted upon as newcomers.
“A lot of those freshman are kind of timid, but they encourage us to shoot and it’s great to have coaches that encourage us to shoot.”
“Everybody is a leader, trying to lead. (The team wants) everybody be a leader so you don’t have to look over people all the time. You carry yourself as a leader (and) everybody is held accountable.”