Rabb Out to Prove Himself

Dec. 8 -- Ivan Rabb exited his junior season as Scout's top 2015 prospect, but his stock dropped after an up and down spring and summer. The five-star power forward is out to prove himself as a senior...

Last year, there may not have been a more dominant junior in high school basketball than 6-foot-10, 220-pound Oakland (Calif.) Bishop O’Dowd power forward Ivan Rabb.

The 2015 post was always considered an elite prospect, but his size, length, motor, athleticism, skill, consistency and production over the season helped him land at the top of Scout’s Top 100 list.

While Rabb was terrific as a junior, during the following spring and summer he wasn’t quite the same and he slowly dropped down the rankings. His motor was up and down and he couldn’t consistently put up near the kind of numbers he did during the season.

No one really knew what was going on with Rabb, but it was clear he wasn’t the same player. Yet, he stayed quiet.

“I wasn’t raised to make excuses,” Rabb says.

The problem, Rabb says now, was an ankle sprain that limited him for several months.

“It was a big deal,” he said. “I was nicked up the entire time. I’m not one to complain about it but I want to dominate every game and it took a big toll on me during the summer.

“I wasn’t able to showcase my skills like I wanted to. I tried to get back to 100% but kept reinjuring it.”

Keeping his head down and playing as hard as he could despite the injury was important to Rabb, despite being clearly limited.

“I don’t think I brought it up one time the entire summer,” Rabb said. “I could have, but I just didn’t want to make excuses.”

Now ranked 5th in his class, Rabb is out to prove himself – “Now that I’m healthy, I have no choice but to show what I can do again,” he said – and that mission started on Nov. 29 at the Prep2Prep Tip-Off Classic against Las Vegas Bishop Gorman.

It was Rabb’s 24-point, 11-rebound performance in a 68-54 win against Bishop Gorman’s two five-star centers, Stephen Zimmerman and Chase Jeter, at the 2013 Tarkanian Classic that catapulted him from elite post to a top prospect in his class type player.

Over the summer and fall, Rabb’s stock dropped, while Zimmerman and Jeter’s rose. Between that matchup and the fact that the game featured two of the nation’s top high school teams, it’s hard to blame Rabb for wanting to prove a point.

With 28 points and 20 rebounds in a 63-55 win, he definitely did just that.

“It’s always a big matchup because there are two of them and one of me,” said Rabb. “I love big games like that.

“I definitely take it personally, but at the end of the day it’s about winning. If I had 10 points, 10 rebounds and shut them down and we won, I would have been fine.”

Unlike this time last year, Rabb has to balance his recruitment with his season. Even though he was being seriously recruited a year ago, he didn’t spend much time worried about it.

“I didn’t really take it seriously,” said Rabb. “Back then I was just kind of irritated by all the calls and stuff. I tried to be respectful and I always listened but I was getting bombarded by coaches from schools I wasn’t really interested in.”

Rabb is now down to Arizona, California, Kansas, Kentucky and UCLA, which has allowed him to concentrate more on his recruitment.

“Once I cut my list to five, I was able to focus on it a lot more,” he said. “It’s definitely a lot easier for me now. There’s a lot less pressure and now I just need to make a good decision.”

Making a decision still hasn’t necessarily been easy, but Rabb feels he’s headed in the right direction.

“I think I’m making progress,” Rabb said. “I’m not really ready to say which schools I’m leaning towards, but I’m definitely leaning in a certain direction right now. There’s not necessarily one leader, but there are a few schools I like more than others.”

Rabb has already officially visited Kentucky and the plan – “Unless I really see something I like and want to get it over with,” he said – is to take the rest of his trips before making a decision.

“I want to see all four and whenever the time is right I’ll try and see them,” Rabb said. “I don’t have anything set up right now. I’ll have to plan visits around when I don’t have any games.”


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