Positions and the way teams play continue to change. Because of that, versatility is a must for young prospects. Abdul-Malik Abu, and how different programs are recruiting him, is a great example of that.
A Boston-area native who is prepping at Meriden (N.H.) Kimball Union, Abu would have been called small for a power forward years ago. Now, with roles changing, the 6-foot-7 rising senior who ranks No. 50 in the 2014 Rivals150 is in demand because of his versatility.
When he burst onto the scene last summer, it was as a rugged rebounder and tough guy near the hoop. Abu is still tough, but he has added layers to his game.
"I'm definitely an improved face-up shooter, perimeter defender and off-the-dribble attacker," Abu told Rivals.com. "Those are all the things I work on with my guys in the gym."
With programs ranging from Florida, Kansas, N.C. State and Tennessee to Providence, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Iowa State, Boston College, Cincinnati, St. John's, Kansas State and many more having offered scholarships, Abu has attention from all over the spectrum.
Some see him as a go-to guy, while others see him as a role player.
"They like me to be a power forward," Abu said. "I hear the term glue guy because they want me to be a role player, and some tell me that they want me to be a scorer. There's a lot of variety with the college coaches."
As for making a decision, Abu makes it clear that he isn't ready to do so and he dislikes even listing programs because he doesn't want to forget anybody. But, when the time comes to make a choice, he won't necessarily be looking for the easiest path to playing time and he'll be looking to challenge himself.
"I want to test myself against the best," Abu said. "That's the only way to succeed in life. I don't want to go someplace where I think, oh, I can go here and play. I want to go someplace where I can compete for a spot and get better."
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