ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Due to key injuries in 2014-15, Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman was forced to learn on the fly as a freshman, playing key minutes down the stretch run of Big Ten play.
An experience, he says, paid dividends for him and his teammates as he enters his sophomore campaign for Michigan.
“Last year was a lot of learning for most of the young guys,” he said at U-M’s media day last week. “So we were kind of behind the curve to start. Since we know what we got to do now, I think we are going to do a little bit better, and the team is going to do a lot better.”
Last season, of course, Michigan lost key starters Caris LeVert (foot) and Derrick Walton Jr. (ankle) for the second half of Big Ten play, which gave an opportunity for Abdur-Rahkman to play. How did he respond? Well, Abdur-Rahkman scored 4.5 points per game, appearing in 29 games, averaging 19 minutes a game, which included an 18-point outburst at rival Michigan State.
“We’ll you never want to see your teammates go down and get hurt,” he said when asked about coming in for injured starters as a freshman. “The playing time definitely benefited me and Aubrey (Dawkins) and others, who got a little bit more playing time to make sure we are ready this season.”
Michigan opens up at home on Nov. 6, when they play host to Le Moyne in an exhibition contest at 7 pm.