Ballboy Hype presents the “I Got Next” series featuring stories on highly touted freshman across the country that will be suiting up for their first season of high school basketball. With many freshman looking to lead their teams and play significant roles during their first year, we look forward to bringing recognition to these young talents. Feel free to let us know in the comments section on what freshman you think should be featured next week and be sure to follow @ballboyhype on Twitter and Instagram.
It’s late October in a packed Gauchos Gym, one of Bronx’s popular grassroots basketball gymnasiums, where Seton Hall Prep (NJ) freshman Jabri Abdur-Rahim is witnessing the intense crowd of New York City basketball.
The 6’6 Abdur-Rahim — the son of former NBA player and Olympic Gold Medalist Shareef Abdur-Rahim, was one of the few New Jersey underclassmen selected to play in the Sharette Dixon Classic, an exhibition game between New York City and New Jersey’s top underclassmen and upperclassmen.
“This is really my first time playing in one of these game with this type of atmosphere,” said Jabri. “The nerves were kicking in a little at first but after I started scoring and playing defense, things got better.”
Jabri recently moved to the Northern New Jersey area after spending much of his childhood in Sacramento, California where his dad was the Assistant General Manager of the Sacramento Kings. But after his dad accepted a new position with the NBA front office here on the east coast, the family packed up and settled in the Northern New Jersey area.
Although Jabri is happy to be here on the in the New York Metropolitan area, he does admit that it is taking some “getting used to.”
“I adjusted pretty good. Right now I’m just getting comfortable, but the weather, I’m probably never going to get used to it. It’s really cold out here.”
Jabri also had a chance to attend the Pangos All-East Frosh/Soph camp in October where he went up against some of the top class of 2019 and 2020 players in the mid-atlantic region. During the prestigious underclassmen camp, the big guard was selected to the Top 30 Cream of the crop game with the likes of Cole Anthony, Aiden Igiehon, Bryce Wills, Che Evans, Posh Alexander and a few other notable prospects.
With the season slowly approaching, Jabri is working extremely hard to improve his skillset and is looking to turn heads during his freshman campaign. A smooth wing with good size for the position, Jabri has a versatile game where he is able to put the ball on the floor, finish through traffic, guard multiple positions and can even hit the outside shot along with many other things.
“I really pride myself on utilizing my size on smaller defenders in which I try to use that on the defensive and offensive end.”
Jabri is very aware that he must improve certain areas of his game to become the player he wants to be at the next level in which he believes he will most likely be a shooting guard or small forward. Two areas of his game he has mainly been working on is his ball-handling and defense, since he believes those are key at the next level.
“Really my ball-handling and defense are areas I have been working on the most. If I really want to play the 2 or 3 positions, I have to be able to guard smaller people that are quicker and faster than I am. I also have to be able to handle the ball against them as well.”
One significant influence in Jabri’s game is the fact that he has his father to seek advice from. Being the son of a former NBA player and Olympic Gold Medalist, Jabri takes pride in this and uses it to his advantage.
“My dad really has a huge influence on my game. I really appreciate what he does and what he tells me because he is where I am trying to get at and so I have to listen to everything he says. The biggest thing he always tell me is to just play my game, to not let anyone influence me and to not try anything that I am not comfortable doing.
With all the buzz Jabri has been getting, it is no wonder that many schools are recruiting the top freshman with two school already offering scholarships. So far, nearby Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell have offered the stud along with Texas A&M — who offered earlier this year. In addition, Jabri is receiving interest from his dad’s alma mater, California, along with Tulane, UConn, Michigan State and Kansas.
With many kids today having dreams of playing for popular schools such as Kentucky, Duke and North Carolina, Jabri does not have any favorite schools in which he is just interested in playing for school that will give him a free scholarship.
“I just really want to go to college for free and play basketball for free and hopefully get to the next level, which is the NBA.”
Does not mean those schools should not start recruiting the Seton Hall prep stud.
Be sure to follow Jabri on Instagram @jabri.23 and Twitter @jabri404