Jamal Abu-Shamala Talks about Gopher Future

Jamal Abu-Shamala, a 6-foot-4 wing from Shakopee (MN) High, will walk-on at Minnesota this upcoming year and he is working hard during the offseason to show that he belongs. Abu-Shamala led the Sabres to the Class AAA state title and he was named first-team All-Metro by the Minneapolis Star Tribune. GoldenSports.net recently caught up with Abu-Shamala after watching him play in the Pulley Pro-Am Summer League.

Jamal Abu-Shamala scored 24 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in the 57-46 championship win over Richfield, giving the school its first ever boys state basketball title. Abu-Shamala scored 56 points in three state tournament games and was named to the All-Tournament team. He is an excellent student with a 3.5 GPA.

Abu-Shamala led Shakopee to a 31-1 record this season. He averaged 18.8 points per game and was named first-team All-Missota Conference for the second straight season. Abu-Shamala scored more than 1,000 points in his career.

Abu-Shamala is a good outside threat who can penetrate to the hoop. He is a hard-working defender who needs to add strength. Abu-Shamala passed on several Division I scholarship offers to walk-on and attempt to play at the highest level possible.

How much has playing in an environment like this, helped you with your game?

"It has helped a lot. It is a lot quicker game and it definitely shows me what I need to work on. It is a lot of help."

Is there anything that you have tried to focus on during this offseason? Any aspects of your game?

"Defensively. The game is so much more physical and quicker, so I have to stay with them. I've also worked on my strength. I have been hitting the weights. I have been going every other day and lifting."

Have you been doing any summer school?

"No. I have not done anything. I'm just going to wait until school starts."

Have you got much of a chance to play with the current Gophers?

"We play Sundays. I could not make this past Sunday, but I have been going the past couple of months."

Has that helped you become more familiar with the guys?

"It is nice. I am getting to know them pretty well and getting to know how they play, everyone's strengths and weaknesses. I'm getting to learn what I can do, so it has been a big help."

Obviously you looked at Minnesota as an opportunity to play at the highest level. Was it tough to walk on when you had some lower Division I possibilities?

"I have always wanted to play here and when it came down to it, I went down and talked to the coaches. It is a good fit for me. It just felt right."

Have the coaches talked to you about what your role might be for this upcoming year? Would you be redshirted?

"They said it was up to me to redshirt. I'll just have to see how practice goes and the first two games I get to play in. If I don't get a lot of time, I'll probably redshirt. But, it is up to me to redshirt."

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