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The maturation of Abdul-Malik Abu

NC State Basketball

The maturation of Abdul-Malik Abu

Malik Abu is rounding into form just in time for the UNC game this Saturday. Wednesday night marked a perfect game for Malik from the field as he was 9-9. So why is it that Malik Abu is playing so much better as of late?

Abu is not settling for jump shots instead he is attacking the rim…

A gifted athlete, Malik Abu is finally utilizing his natural size and quickness to beat defenders to the basket. Not many collegiate players can match Malik’s athleticism to thwart his attacks. Versus Virginia Tech Abu was a man-child throwing down monster dunk after monster dunk. He was also efficient in the high-post as he ripped the ball low away from defenders dribbling once and exploding to finish in traffic.

Malik is getting better at moving without the ball and at reading defenses…

Dennis Smith has aided Malik Abu’s progress by drawing defenders attention to cut off penetration, however, Malik is doing a great job at finding the openings for those passes. Quickness is important inside the paint as ACC big men recover swiftly, Abu has been decisive at not putting the ball on the floor before finishing. He has also done a better job off-ball at getting into optimal spots to attack, for example on the elbow and near the rim.

Omer Yurtseven is a great pairing for Malik…

The addition of Omer has helped Abu have more space to operate. Throughout his career Abu has not had a front-court mate who demands the attention offensively that Yurtseven does. Help-side defense has always been quick to take away Malik’s driving lanes although now help-side cannot leave Omer unattended. Abu is virtually unguardable in one on one situations in the high post without help-side defense.

Malik’s play is critical to NC State reaching its’ full potential. His strong play in the paint is creating space and scoring opportunities for his teammates. Mark Gottfried has to be loving the aggressive Malik Abu that has brought heart and physicality to the power forward position the past few games. Saturday will be quite the matchup of athletic big men as Malik squares off aginst Isaiah Hicks!

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