The Wolverine

February 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 39 of 75

40 THE WOLVERINE FEBRUARY 2018 scored 18 as a true freshman at Michigan State, following a pregame slight he well remembers. "In warmups, they were talking a little bit of trash," Abdur-Rahkman recalled. "They said something di- rectly to me. I said, 'Who, me?' They were like, 'Yeah, I'm talking to you.'" "I said, I'm going to show you during game time — obviously, I didn't say it like that." He smiled broadly at the memory, a look far from his stone-faced ex- pression at the line against Maryland. NEXT LEVELS, AND A RECOMMENDATION Abdur-Rahkman certainly earned his shot at major college basketball, the first four-year all-state performer in Lehigh Valley history. But it's also well documented that the local hero in Allentown — who averaged 23.6 points as a senior in leading his school to a 29-1 record — wasn't flooded with high-major offers. He'd gotten letters from schools like North Carolina and George- town as a freshman, but as he moved through his prep career, attention lagged. "It was a chip on my shoulder, for sure," Abdur-Rahkman acknowl- edged. "Any time we would play a top team or a team with a good player on it, I would go out there and make sure we'd win, but have a good showing as well." Part of it might have been his lack of emotion or ostentatiousness, miss- ing characteristics still causing him to be overlooked, his dad insists. "I don't really talk much," Abdur- Rahkman said. "I'm about that action — that's the best way to put it." "It's because he's not a rah-rah guy," Dawud Abdur-Rahkman says of his son's portrayal as the under- dog or unsung hero. "People like rah-rah guys. People like entertain- ment. People gravitate to the guy they can feels gives them a sense of excitement. "With Muhammad, you like him because he does his work and stays to his business, or you don't." Dave Rooney liked him. That even- tually made John Beilein like him — a lot. Rooney coached high school bas- ketball near Philadelphia in the 1960s, and at a host of small col- leges in the Northeast. He crossed coaching paths with Beilein in the late 1970s, and when Rooney saw Abdur-Rahkman getting overlooked in the recruiting process, he dialed up Beilein. Beilein respected Rooney enough to pursue the lead, and the rest is Michigan history. Abdur-Rahkman didn't know Dave Rooney from Mickey Rooney, but once again his dad's instruction came into play. "I think my dad's a wise man," Ab- dur-Rahkman said. "He always says, you never know who is watching. There are always going to be impor- tant people watching from afar. It's not always the people closest to you. "I always try to present myself in the best way I can when I'm out in public." He's been presenting himself that way at Michigan for four years, growing as he goes. SOARING AND SLEEPING Abdur-Rahkman steadily in- creased his stature at Michigan, from a freshman filling in when injuries hit Abdur-Rahkman has played in every U-M contest since the beginning of his sophomore year and has started 84 of the 96 games during that span through U-M's victory over Rutgers Jan. 21. He also played in 29 of the team's 32 games as a rookie, with 13 starts. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolverine - February 2018