"It's All About The Game"
Bundu's bounce up charts has been steady
Ron Bailey, Publisher
October 1, 2014 - Born in Sierra Leone, West Africa, Abdulai Bundu came to the U.S. at age seven. As kids do in that nation of six million, he fashioned himself a soccer player, so much so that he would not really pick up basketball until eighth grade.
Now, Bundu, standing around 6'7" and weighing 210 pounds has around six scholarship offers, with other schools expressing interest. What's his journey been like?
Abdulai Bundu, competing in DMV Elite 80 action.
"We took two planes and a boat" to arrive in America shared Bundu this past weekend. His first elementary school was Samuel Ogle (now a middle school) in Bowie, MD, necessitated by his neighborhood school of Kettering Elementary being at capacity. An uptick was Ogle being closer to Bundu's father's military base.
Fast forward to eighth grade year and a Kettering Middle School coach. "Mr. Pierce, used to see me in the halls and say 'You should come out' for basketball recalled Bundu, who resisted the opportunity. The person who changed his mind? "My mom made me come out" laughed Bundu. "He was coming to my mom".
Bundu's first hoops game was "in a little summer league" and he liked it. Abudlai thought "I can really make something out of this".
Enter Largo High School.
"It changed the way I play" recounted Bundu of enrolling in that Central P.G. County institution. "I came in freshman year, skinny, didn't really know much. I'm a quiet child. With the help of Coach (Louis) Howard, Rodney Ward and strength and conditioning coach Marquise Gason, I grew up".
Last season was a breakout one of sorts for Bundu, who established himself as one of the best rebounders and in-the-paint energy guys in the DMV. He's known for cleaning glass with abandon. Think a mini Dennis Rodman type of player who also scores on stick backs, on the break and defends. He continued that style of play for Team Takeover on the EYBL circuit this summer also.
Howard and the Largo staff have bigger plans for Bundu this upcoming season.
"Right now, I'm working on mid range 15 feet out and in" he shared. "Playing more high post than low post".
Largo is going to allow him to roam the mid-post, as well as "allow me to push the ball if I get a rebound".
Successfully meeting the mid-post challenge demands work from Bundu. He's doing that now, continuing effort began this summer.
"I went to Arkansas and worked out with Ronny Brewer and his father, Ron Brewer, Sr." he said. Both Brewer's played for the University of Arkansas and have NBA experience, Ronny playing last year with Chicago's Bulls.
Continuing Bundu shared "That was a great experience. He (the older Brewer) played professionally for seven years. He taught me the basics. My main focus was to work on shooting and ball handling, arch, free throws, old school bank shot moves".
Bundu spinning to the cup last season for Largo.
Brewer the father also introduced Bundu to Kelly Lambert, the former strength and conditioning coach with Arkansas and the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies. Lambert provided advice in addition to "focusing on increasing flexibility in my hips. I have tight hips. He also helped me with my core".
Add mentor to Ron Brewer and Bundu's relationship. Part of that will entail recruiting guidance, something his parents and Largo's Howard will also assist with.
Currently, scholarships offers from "St. Peters, Quinnipiac, LIU Brooklyn, Towson, Rider" have been received, along with one form Coppin State. Southern Mississippi and Liberty are showing interest, as are "Wichita State, Miami, Tulane and Elon".
He indicated "sports medicine or physical therapy" could be his future course of study, and that's he's wide open in terms of choosing a school. Bundu has visited three of his suitors.
Just last weekend, he spent time at LIU Brooklyn's campus.
A former DMV standout Jamal Olasewere in part led the Blackbirds to its Northeast Conference and NCAA Tournament success. Olasewere, who now plays professionally for Verviers-Pepinster in Belgium, is also a beast on the boards and plays primarily in the paint, excelling in doing so despite not being the biggest players.
Bundu is aware of Olasewere. In fact the LIU Brooklyn staff "were comparing me and Jamal the whole weekend".
In terms of another school recently visited, St. Peters, Bundu indicated "I enjoyed it. It's in the heart of Jersey City...The team is a good team, they have five seniors leaving. They run, are very active". Additionally he noted "Education wise, it's on point".
When will he choose a future collegiate home?
In addition to LIU Brooklyn, and St. Peters, he's visited Quinnipiac and wants "to see my other two, sit down with my coach and will cut it down and take it from there". Expect a final decision to happen right before Largo's 2014-2015 season starts, or halfway into it.
It's been a long upward trend for Bundu, one that will likely continue in college.
Bundu personal file:
Favorite food: "I'm a pizza and lasagna guy".
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