Sabre Outlook: Jabri Abdur-Rahim’s Potential Role, Recruiting Impact

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Priority class of 2020 men’s basketball target Jabri Abdur-Rahim has announced his commitment to the University of Virginia. Cavalier nation is certainly excited to have the consensus 4-star in the fold, and associate head coach Jason Williford took to Twitter minutes after the announcement to declare …

What role does head coach Tony Bennett and company envision the talented prospect playing in his time in Charlottesville? The 6’7”, 205-pound Abdur-Rahim, who is considered a small forward position-wise by Rivals, 247Sports and ESPN, touched on this topic last month.

“They’ve just been telling me I can come in and be an elite defender, and that’s what [Tony Bennett] sees me, kind of filling in a De’Andre Hunter type role, so I really like what he’s saying,” Abdur-Rahim told TheSabre.com at the 2019 NBPA Top 100 Camp.

Also helping to detail Abdur-Rahim’s future at UVA is Sabre Editor Kris Wright, who produced the following scouting report based on what he saw from the 2019 Gatorade Player of the Year in New Jersey the week of the Top 100 Camp.

UVA’s recruitment with Abdur-Rahim has been picking up steam this spring and into the early summer, matching what has been steady progress in his performances on the travel circuit. He’s been turning in increasingly impressive outings according to recruiting analysts and he followed that up by leading the Top 100 Camp in scoring at 17.3 points per game over six games. He finished second in the event with 14 made 3-pointers, while also making 28 free throws so this is someone that can score on outside shots or going to the rim. He ended camp shooting 47.7% overall, 50.0% from 3-point range, and 84.8% at the free throw line.

At 6’7” and 205 pounds on the Top 100 roster, Abdur-Rahim looks long and lean among his peers with what’s reported as a 6’9.5” wing span. In other words, this is the prototype wing in the NBA and in the college ranks if you’re looking for a versatile player that can play bigger in small ball lineups but still hold down a traditional perimeter spot in other lineups.

He really eats up ground going to the rim as his long strides cover territory quickly and that leaves opponents behind with bad angles; he appears to throw defenders off with his long limbs and movements. He appeared to be comfortable working quickly in isolation when windows opened and could create his own shot. On top of that, Abdur-Rahim showed really strong catch-and-shoot form from the old college 3-point line and a good hop step pullup jumper out to 3-point range as well. He hit an on-the-hop 3-pointer to tie the game late in one session.

If you’re looking for areas with less polish, Abdur-Rahim logged just 5 assists in six games (0.8 per game) and averaged 2.7 rebounds during camp. He can do more in both of those categories with his skill set. Every now and then, he was a little high with his dribble and that look like it slowed his first step at times as well.

Still, here’s the part that really makes Virginia look like a good fit: he gets it done defensively and looks like he wants to play on that end. In the same game he hit that 3 to tie, he also pinned a shot on the glass to save the go-ahead bucket as a help defender in the final 20 seconds. Abdur-Rahim has the versatility to switch onto defenders across at least three positions and likely could push that to be able to cover all but true centers with strength and quickness gains that are coming in college.

Long story short: if you’re looking for something that looks like a plug-and-play future option in the De’Andre Hunter mold, this is your guy in this class. It’s not hard to picture him in those spots at all.

Abdur-Rahim’s Impact On UVA’s Scholarship Situation

Virginia men’s basketball’s scholarship allotment for the 2020-21 season is, at this point, filled, and I don’t expect anything to change by the time the Early Signing Period arrives in November.

Looking further down the road, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see attrition strike next spring. After all, Virginia had three players (Marial Shayok, Darius Thompson and Jarred Reuter) transfer in the spring of 2017 and another (Marco Anthony) transfer this spring. The Hoos also lost three players to the NBA Draft this spring in Kyle Guy, De’Andre Hunter and Ty Jerome. Certainly, attrition is possible, and if it happens the Cavalier coaches could find themselves back on the 2020 recruiting trail (or the transfer market) next spring. For that reason don’t be surprised if the Virginia coaches continue to keep an eye on potential 2020 targets this summer, though the major focus will be 2021 and beyond. UVA has three scholarship spots to use on the class of 2021.

At this point, the 2020-21 version of the Cavaliers now looks like this (scholarship players only):

POINT GUARDS: Kihei Clark (Jr), Reece Beekman (Fr)

GUARDS: Tomas Woldetensae (Sr), Kody Stattmann (Jr), Casey Morsell (Soph), Carson McCorkle (Fr)

GUARDS/FORWARDS: Sam Hauser (R-Sr), Justin McKoy (Soph), Jabri Abdur-Rahim (Fr)

POSTS: Jay Huff (R-Sr), Francesco Badocchi (R-Jr), Francisco Caffaro (R-Soph), Kadin Shedrick (Soph)

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