Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman commits to Michigan

542x510[1]Michigan added another member to its 2014 recruiting class today as Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman committed to John Beilein and the Wolverines.

Abdur-Rahkman was offered a scholarship during his official visit to Michigan this weekend and accepted John Beilein’s offer, announcing his commitment on Twitter.

Abdur-Rahkman is a 6-foot-4 guard from Allentown, Pennsylvania that led his Allentown Catholic Central team to a 29-1 record last season while averaging over 23 points per game. He joins Kameron Chatman, DJ Wilson, Ricky Doyle and Austin Hatch as members of Michigan’s incoming class.

More on Abdur-Rahkman including rankings, background story, scouting reports and video after the jump.

Rankings & Offers

  • Scout: N/A
  • Rivals: N/A
  • ESPN: 2-star
  • 247: N/A
  • 247 Consensus: N/A

Abdur-Rahkman isn’t a complete unknown in basketball circles, but he flew under the radar. Most national scouts have described Rahkman as a mid-major-plus prospect. That was in line with his offer list before his Michigan visit: Rice, Bucknell, Drexel, Lehigh and Harvard.

But late in April, mid-major prospects can elevate into high-major prospects based on need alone. Penn State, Rutgers and Boston College had all shown interest late and had hoped to get Abdur-Rahkman on campus for official visits.

Background

Abdur-Rahkman had no shortage of high school achievements. He was named to the Pennsylvania Sports Writers All-State team – four times in four years. He averaged 23.6 points, 6.2 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game as a senior and finished with 2,136 career points.

John Beilein loves to discuss birthdays when it comes to recruiting. That can mean very young players that have a lot of potential (i.e. Caris LeVert), but also older players that could be more ready to make an immediate impact (i.e. Zak Irvin, Mitch McGary). Rahkman doesn’t have a prep year under his belt, but he’s definitely older. He’s as old as a member of the 2014 class can be in the state of Pennsylvania and he’ll be 20 before he plays a game at Michigan. That means that while he’s unlikely to undergo any LeVert-esque growth spurt, he could be more ready to play physically from when he arrives on campus.

Video

We published a detailed scouting video and evaluation of Abdur-Rahkman’s game last week:

Scouting

Abdur-Rahkman is an athletic wing guard that prefers to play with the ball. He’s a great player in transition, but is comfortable in isolation and ball screen scenarios. Despite his lofty high school scoring numbers, he demonstrated an impressive ability to distribute the ball as well. His jump shot is a work in progress, but appears to be progressing in the right direction.

Josh Verlin, a Pennsylvania scout from City of Basketball Love, provided this scouting report on Abdur-Rahkman’s game:

Abdur-Rahkman is a combo guard with great size (6-4, 190 lbs) and he uses that size to his advantage. He excels in the transition especially with the ball in his hands, and loves to push the tempo. Abdur-Rahkman is also a great defensive player due to his length and can guard all three guard positions on the court. His biggest weakness right now is his jump shooting; he’s improving, but still not a great perimeter threat. Scored a lot in high school, but it remains to be seen whether he can do that consistently against players at the high-major level.

ESPN’s scouting report was last updated this summer:

Strengths:
He’s extremely versatile with the size and length to offer minutes at any of the three perimeter positions, and is a match-up problem virtually anywhere on the court because he’s capable of making plays for himself and others over top of smaller guards and has the speed, quickness, and handle to go by most bigger wings. He’s equally versatile defensively where his size, length, and ability to cover the court might even be bigger weapons.

Weaknesses:
He’s a dribble drive player on the offensive end, and not yet a consistent outside shooter. That flaw in his offensive repertoire is likely to be exposed much more at the next level when the game slows down and he’s not able to get out in the open floor with the same frequency. Even at that, he’s going to be much more effective in an up-tempo system at the next level.

Fit & Outlook

Abdur-Rahkman adds a jolt of athleticism and depth to Michigan’s backcourt. The Wolverines have Derrick Walton, Caris LeVert, Zak Irvin, Kameron Chatman and Spike Albrecht on the roster next season, but four of those five players could be starters. That leaves hardly any depth at the guard spots. Abdur-Rahkman is a versatile player that can probably back up the two and three spots, while complementing Michigan’s other guards.

 

Abdur-Rahkman has the tools to be a plus defender and he’s also very comfortable playing with the ball in his hands. Michigan has featured one of the best ball screen offenses in the country in recent seasons and LaVall Jordan will have some nice tools to work with given Rahkman’s size and vision.

  • Chezaroo

    Always thought MAAR was the best option. Sure hope we don’t offer Dawkins now.

    • Steve2081

      I didn’t. But i do now. :)

  • Madrox

    Safe to assume no Dawkins now? Transfer or nothing until 2015?

  • kam

    Welcome MAAR! Love that he can play great defense!

  • zeroskie3

    MAAR wasn’t the option I expected the coaches to go with, but I trust their judgement.

    I hope he starts working on that jump shot right away!

    • kam

      We needed players who can slash and play great defense. Yes its nice to be able to shoot but we have a lot of shooters. When our jumpers are not falling we need people who can attack and stop people from scoring on us.

      • zeroskie3

        Yes it makes sense and those are reasons why he’s a good backup 1/2, but there’s nothing wrong with hoping he can develop a consistent jump shot as well if he wants to make more of an impact later on. I am excited to see him play for UM and I hope his growth is as impressive as LeVert’s.

        • kam

          yup i agree!

        • Nick

          Don’t get all the “hope he can improve like Levert” statements. He seems excited to be at Michigan and I’m sure he’ll work hard. It seems premature to put any expectations on him.

      • Mattski

        And we need McGary back to make put-backs! Can we start a petition?

        • Mattski

          Wonder how his FT shooting is?

  • Fresh

    you can become a better shooter with practice, some of this kids intangibles can’t be taught……..this to me has a levert feeling to it……..hope he comes in ready and hungary………Lavall should turn this kid into a great player……think it is a great pick up

    • kam

      Great foot speed and athletic ability cannot be taught like u said. You can become a better shooter. He wont be like Nik or irvin from 3 but he could turn into a solid 35-38% 3pt shooter. caris was a good shooter coming in he just struggled his first year.

    • Chezaroo

      He’s almost 20 right now! He projects to shore up depth and fill in when needed. Not a likely candidate to show a Caris like improvement. The reality is he was a 19 year old man muscling around a bunch of 16-17 year olds in HS. But a desire to defend and contribute in practice can not be overlooked. It takes a village.

      • kam

        this is true. caris came in extremely young. Everyone expects a “caris type of improvement” thats not gonna happen very often

  • kam

    He’s 20. Lets hope for improvement but it most likely wont be a caris improvement who was a young kid still growing into his body. My hopes are that he improves his shooting and and ability to create.

    • jakelam2116

      Yeah, improvement of shooting seems like the biggest thing (just from reading these stories).

  • Chezaroo

    VERY surprised we offered Dawkins? Guess the coaches were not that really involved with the other options as much as we thought/hoped?

    • UNCB

      yep. Wanted Wesley. Rats.

  • DE OPPRESSO LIBER

    You guys got a solid player , great student and even a better person.

    I watched the kid since 8th grade. My family and kids attend/attended his Catholic High School. This guy is a pleasure to watch.

    The news just broke in Allentown about his visit to Michigan. The city is going nuts over this possibility.

    This guy improved every year. His shooting , his dribbling, his ability to see the game as it is and anticipate , got better each and every year.

    Every team that played against Central Catholic, game planned, to stop this guy. They were not that successful. He has never been a “me” player. he passed when necessary , dribbled to set up his shot, set picks and did everything asked of him by the staff.

    As for the 19-20 year old issue. Yes he is 19/20 in September. His father held him back a year when they lived in DC. This was done for basketball reasons and nothing else. This is a common practice , from what I have been told.

    This is a great player, but even a better person , who comes from a good family. Grades will not be an issue with Rahkman. He is an exceptional student , who is being recruited by the likes of Harvard, VCU, Richmond, Rice,Lehigh, Penn State,Pitt and a few others. He is a quiet kid , but when you get to know him, he is a great kid.

    I know I sound like his “agent” , but I only speak from experience with him over the last 4 years. If you guys get this kid, I promise, he will have a great career and represent the Wolverine tradition in a way that will make you proud.

    • Chezaroo

      Solid.

    • jakelam2116

      Thanks for the post. I’m excited to learn more about him and see in a UM uniform.

    • Chezaroo

      Do you know if he actually had offers from PSU and Pitt? Seems like those in-state schools would have seen him dozens of times.

    • toblav

      Nice post. I appreciate your taking the time, and the enthusiasm. Love that Allentown is “going nuts”.

  • Wayman Britt

    I think MAAR will fill a role on this team – welcome. I am not worried about his age. 20 year olds can still improve their game.

  • Webbdog

    I have a Feeling he will become Our Russ Smith/Shabazz Napier type player down the line, An Assassin with time.

    • Chezaroo

      An All-American? Really?

      • Guest

        Why not? Did they not become All-American??

        • Chezaroo

          If you are comparing them to Smith and Napier, you are comparing them to All-Americans, are you not? Hope you are 100% right. Seems a stretch to me.

          • AADave

            Not with Beilein’s record of identifying and developing under the radar talent. GR3 was a 3 star (when Beilein signed him) and developed into a likely first round NBA pick, THJ was a 3 star…. Into a first round NBA pick, Burke was a 3 star… Into a first round NBA pick. Stauskas was. A generic 75th ranked 4 star… Into a lottery pick and Levert was a 3 star who is projected as a lottery pick next year! Beilein’s had a couple misses (before he had his pick of players) but he’s batting over .500 in finding diamonds in the rough. So I wouldn’t bet against Beilein if he sees potential in this kid.

          • Chezaroo

            Wish MAAR all the best! But are you suggesting he will be an All-American and first round pick, or just reciting JBs successes? All those players you referenced were immediate starters, MAAR will not be. Let’s not let the euphoria of a recruit that had minimal offers grow into the next man up in Beilein’s “development workshop.” Better chance he will be red-shirted next year than play any significant minutes. Big difference playing at this level than playing against kids that were two years younger than you in HS. We all love JB, but this is about depth and potential PT as a future role player.

          • AADave

            I’m pointing out why, given Beilein’s extaordinary track record, putting a ceiling on this kid’s potential is just plain silly. Levert was not an immediate starter by the way. And I could have gone on to point out how JB turned a 3 star JMo into a starting First class Big Ten center on TWO big ten championship teams and then there’s Spike who was a borderline 2 star until he became a superior backup PG who almost shot his team to a national title. But hey, I’m sure it makes more sense to yet again assume JB just picking up another warm body. He’s probably much better than his ratings… How much better only time will tell.

          • Chezaroo

            Interesting to read Sam Webb’s article about his visit. MAAR says he knows he has to get better, and that Caris was his host. Found it interesting that he didn’t participate in open gym, and didn’t work out for the staff. Apparently he wasn’t being evaluated on this official for his ability, but more for his fit and personality. Still find it revealing that PSU and Pitt ( in state schools ) didn’t officially offer a kid in their own backyard. Hope I’m way wrong, but this seems like a need for roster support. Not every under the radar prospect turns out to be Levert.

        • kam

          seems like a stretch

      • Webbdog

        I never said that, But why not? Did they not become All Americans??

  • GregGoBlue

    Kid is likely a 4-5 year player with great athleticism (any of those on the team right now? Doesn’t look like it…), great character and adds a dimension to this team that we don’t really have now: a guard who is an athletic defender with good size who can also handle the ball. Keep in mind, by his senior year he will be 24 with four years in Beilein’s guard-happy system; there’s a lot of room for development down the line for this kid, but you can rest assured by the time he’s an upperclassman he will be a valuable player (if not sooner). But perhaps most importantly, he will also be an excellent teammate; breaking down the doors to get to Michigan! Welcome MAAR!

  • LV Hoops Fan

    Congrats on the pickup. I’ve probably seen him play 50-75 times in his high school career.

    He’s definitely not a shooter, but he’s not getting enough credit for his perimeter game. The kid can pull up and shoot from anywhere and his stroke is smooth. He just can be streaky is all. It’s not like he’s a terrible shooter. He’s certainly better at getting to the rim than shooting, but I think he gets knocked too much for his outside game. He’s not nearly as bad from outside as these scouting reports make him out to be.

    Not much is ever mentioned of his lack of strength, which I think is as bigger or a bigger issue. He’s thin and will definitely need to hit the weight room to absorb the Big Ten punishment when going to the rim. He’s crafty around the rim and can use his length there at the high school level, but it will be a big adjustment for him now.

  • A2JD

    I think hoping he gets to LeVert-status is setting the bar a little high. If he can be a Stu Douglass-type (great perimeter D & the occasional big shot) I’d be more than happy.

    • Webbdog

      Stu and great defense does not belong in the same sentence. If this kids game turns out to only be on par with Stu Douglass I will be VERY Upset!! But I’m not worried, that won’t happen. From the little tape I have seen of him, he is a far better player than Stu!

      • toblav

        You must be thinking early Stu. By his senior year he was, in fact, a lock down defender. I remember Coach Beilein mentioning that when Stu first got to Michigan he never would have thought he’d become a “lock-down” guy. Imagine the work that went into that.

        • Webbdog

          Never. Not even in his Senior year. Beilein must have just felt compelled to say something nice about Stu.

        • A2JD

          Yes, he was always mentioned here and other spots as Michigan’s best perimeter defender.

  • Mattski

    Like this kid’s demeanor, his team-first mentality and energy. Considering what a stabilizing force and contributor Spike has been, I have no doubt that he will also bring a lot to the team, if not in his first year then down the line.

  • Rt

    If JB continually spits out his college kids that are off to the NBA, he will create an awesome 2 and done mentality….Just reload every year with great players.

  • Bigrange

    Another hidden gem for JB? He has a knack for finding these players who “fly under the radar: Zack Novak, Stu Douglass, Jordan Morgan, Spike, LeVert. Even GR3 fits. These players should be able to see what they can become at Michigan, based off of what they have seen other players do.

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