ATLANTIC CITY, N.J.–Last summer, Abdul-Malik Abu was a rising sophomore with a wide body that he wasn’t afraid to throw around in the lane. The secret was, though, that he wasn’t nearly done growing or developing.
Now a rising junior, Abu has completely reshaped his body, hitting the weight room and transforming his game from being primarily under the rim to flying well above it.
“I think it helped me from a scholarship standpoint and from a game standpoint,” he told NBCSports.com at the Live in AC tournament in Atlantic City, N.J.
“I was a little under the basket, but I liked to pretend that I wasn’t under the basket,” he said with a laugh. “Last year, I still liked to dunk and stuff, but when you actually work on your body, you get stronger. And I hit a little bit of a growth spurt, which helped my game.”
College coaches have flocked to his games on the AAU circuit this summer, with one Division I coach calling him “a young Emeka Okafor.”
“My downside used to be ‘Oh, he needs to work on his body. He still has that baby fat,’” Abu explained. “I still have some, but now coaches see that I’m more explosive and say, ‘That’s something we can work on here.’”
He claims interest and offers from a long list of schools, among them Maryland Notre Dame, Seton Hall, Providence, Miami, Kansas, Michigan State, Temple, Iowa State, Cincinnati, Rutgers, and others.
He maintains that his recruitment is wide open, saying he is looking simply for the “best fit.”
And, if he keeps playing this way, he’ll have a long list of suitors to choose from.