Gene Swindoll, Gene's Page

Abdul Ado signs with Mississippi State

Hamilton Heights Christian Academy Abdulhakim Ado signed with Mississippi State late Monday afternoon. His guardian Linzy Davis talked one-on-one with Gene's Page about the commitment and what kind of player Mississippi State is getting.

  • Name: Abdulhakim Ado
  • Classification: 2016
  • High School: Hamilton Heights Christian Academy
  • Position: Center/Power Forward
  • HT-WT: 6-foot-11, 220
  • Ranking: 3-Star
  • Colleges of Interest: Signed with Mississippi State

There were several reasons Ado decided Mississippi State was the right fit for him.

"Knowing that Mario Kegler was coming (to Mississippi State) was big because he is a great offensive player and that will fit well for getting those key baskets down the stretch," said Davis. "It also felt like home to him. It was just one of those things where everything was a comfortable fit. It is a great group of guys. And there is a special group coming in. Now, he'll play at a level where Mississippi State will be able to compete with Kentucky."

Being his guardian, Davis also had a strong interest in where Ado played college ball. And he also felt comfortable with Mississippi State.

"When I have known people for years it becomes a great trust factor, and I have known (Mississippi State assistant coach Ernie) Zeigler for something like 20 years, competing against him in the Final Four and AAU championships years ago," said Davis. "And knowing Korey McCray from the (AAU) Atlanta Celtics. I also coached a grad assistant of theirs Jalen Courtney in Switzerland. He helped us win a championship in Switzerland. It was just a glove fit walking into the door.

"I had never been to Mississippi State. And I wanted to go see the place. I was amazed at the campus, amazed at the environment as well. This is a true family here. It is incredible. And I mean all of the people are incredible. I knew he would like it because it is a comfortable and safe environment. He has that and he also has every game televised so he will get all that exposure. And night in, night out he will be playing with and against great players.

As for what Mississippi State will be getting in Ado, Davis explained it in great detail.

"Basically, what is in the DNA of (Mississippi State head) Coach (Ben) Howland is defense, and for the type player that Abdul is that is kind of a match made in heaven," said Davis. "Abdul is going to prove to be the best college player in terms of defense. He will be the best rim protector in college basketball. If you look at video of him right now you will see flashes of that.

"He is the best shot-blocker that I have ever seen and certainly the best that I have ever coached. And I had the Lopez twins (Brook and Robin, both in the NBA). I have also coached (NBA player) LaMarcus Aldridge, I could go down the list of guys that I have coached who played in the NBA, guys like Kevin Durant, Rudy Gay, Chase Budinger, Dajuan Wagner, and the list could go on. But this kid is special. He is 6-foot-11 with a 7-foot-5 wingspan. So, he will cover 12 feet every time he goes up. And he knows how to use his jumping ability, knows how to use his reach and length. He is also a tremendously intelligent individual and knows how to read ball screens, knows how to force players into their weaknesses.

"He is also a good offensive player as well but the good thing about him is when you look at the type player that Mississippi State has they got a steal. He is very athletic. He can guard multiple positions. That is what makes him so intriguing for Mississippi State. He can guard the three, four and the five. He is that athletic, that quick. When you look at him and his development after one year with Ben Howland you are going to see the best center/power forward in college basketball.

"And when you think about what NBA teams need, offense puts fans in the stands but defense wins championships. This year you can look at Ben Simmons. He will be a number one pick because there is no defender in the country that plays defense better than he plays offense in his overall game. After Abdul's freshman year there won't be an offensive player in the country that will do what he will do on defense as a rim protector. As NBA clubs look at what is available to help them win a championship knowing that they already have a LeBron James or a Stephen Curry, then they are going to look to see who will be their rim protector. Pro rankings are different than high school rankings. They are looking for specialists. And there are only two players in the NBA with a longer wingspan than Abdul."

As for the future of Mississippi State basketball, Davis has his opinion about that.

"The way we look at it, Starkville is the Hollywood of the south," said Davis. "Mississippi State has a lot to look forward to."

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