COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – One of the perils of the United States being basketball’s richest country is that sometimes extremely talented players do not make the national team.
That’s the case with Jabri Abdur-Rahim one of the top recruits in the class of 2020. The 6-6, 180-pound 15-year-old was one of the last four cuts for the 2017 USA Basketball Men’s U16 National Team.
Abdur-Rahim was named a finalist and by all accords had a pretty solid training camp but he was still left off the squad.
Playing for Team Rio 16U AAU circuit, he is averaging 10.3 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.6 blocks per game. This last season in high school, he helped to take his Seton Hall Prep School (N.J.) to the second round of the playoffs.
But you might be thinking the name Abdur-Rahim sounds familiar and you are right. Jabri’s father Shareef was a 2000 Olympic gold medalist and played in the NBA for 12 years.
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“It’s a great relationship from a father-son standpoint but it’s great from a basketball standpoint as well,” Jabri said. “He gives me a lot of good advice that I try to take and implement into my game.”
A one-time All-Star big man and career 18.1 points per game scorer, Shareef Abdur-Rahim — who sat in the crowd watching his son at training camp — has made a clear impact.
“He’s an intelligent player, you can see it out here,” USA’s coach Don Showalter said. “A lot of times he does things that nobody notices except coaches. He’ll get a rebound out of his area or make a great pass – the little things -and you can tell he’s been around the game enough to understand what those little things are and what the value of those are.”
The family lineage goes past father for Jabri. Abdur-Rahim has had five uncles play college basketball.
“It’s always competition with us,” he said. “I want to be the best out of everyone so I continue to work hard so I can push to be the best out of anyone in my family. It’s really nice to have that sense of competition.”
While he won’t be making the trip to Argentina with Team USA, the five-star prospect has a good foundation for the future.
“I just got to continue to get better,” Abdur-Rahim said. “There are a lot of great players here and a lot of great players in my class. And I have to keep working hard.”