Yeah, so it’s baseball season, and Oregon’s basketball campaign ended late last month, but it’s never too early (or too late) to learn more about our beloved basketball Ducks. Although players A.J. Lapray and Ben Carter are transferring away, sharp shooting Jalil Abdul-Bassit remains. He may not have received much action this past season, but in Abdul-Bassit’s limited role he showed glimpses of a smooth game, a style that could transition well into the upcoming season.
Jalil A. Abdul-Bassit was born in the cold Alaskan town of Anchorage; also home to his close friend and Miami Heat point guard, Mario Chalmers. In addition to Chalmers, Abdul-Bassit grew up around other basketball gurus, as well.
His high school coach was the incredible Chuck White who boasted an astounding career winning percentage of .802 that spanned 45 years. White won a record 921 games, 18 state championships and besides coaching the promising Abdul-Bassit, he also groomed other Alaskan legends such as Trajan Langdon and Claude “Muff” Butler.
Butler is especially important in that he is considered a pick-up basketball legend and success story. Utilizing a flashy point guard style that allowed him to dominate the Alaskan ranks, Butler eventually accepted a scholarship to the University of New Orleans. Oh, yeah, “Muff” also happens to be Abdul-Bassit’s father.
As junior at West High School, Abdul-Bassit, under Coach White, won his first state championship. During this season he averaged 14 ppg, while earning all-conference and all-region honors. However, the next year he transferred across town to rival East High School for his senior season.
At East, Abdul-Bassit garnered an all-state selection after averaging a menacing 27 ppg for his new coach Fred Young. Despite these impressive honors and statistics, Abdul-Bassit failed to attract much national attention. So, much like his older sister Jalilah, he settled on playing his first year of college ball at Monroe College in New Rochelle, New York.
As a 6′-4″ freshman at Monroe College, Abdul-Bassit appeared in 31 of 37 games. Although he only averaged around 3 ppg, the Mustangs still managed to finish fifth at that year’s NJCAA tournament.
And even in his limited role, Abdul-Bassit was able to showcase an impressive range of skills, particularly his silky-smooth jumper. He was also quite versatile, able to play both the 2 and 3 positions where he would pass, shoot and occasionally take it to the hole. But after realizing that his potential would never be fully realized in New York, Abdul-Bassit made his first school transfer, to North Idaho College (NIC), where his father had been an All-American.
Abdul-Bassit thrived at NIC, averaging 13 ppg and 3 rpg. He was able to improve his game there due to a heavier dosage of minutes and deep-rooted support from the school’s athletic director Al Williams – who years earlier was a team mate of Abdul-Bassit’s father.
At NIC, Abdul-Bassit became an honorable mention All-American and all-region pick as a sophomore. Again, this was mostly due to that silky stroke. He shot 45% from the field, 81% at the line and 39% from beyond the arc. And following back-to-back games in which he posted 27 and 28 points respectively, Abdul-Bassit verbally committed to the University of Oregon, making he and Butler the first father-son pair from Alaska to both play Division-1 basketball. Abdul-Bassit even turned down an offer from the University of Washington, noting that he admired Oregon’s coaching staff, program and recent success.
Unfortunately, in his first year at Oregon Abdul-Bassit was joined by a plethora of other talented transfers. Some of these players were older and more developed than he, ergo he was only able to make it on the court for an average of 6 minutes per game. Of course, when he did get in, fans were witness to that pretty jumper they’d been hearing about. During this past season, Abdul-Bassit averaged 2 ppg and 39% from three-land.
Look for Abdul-Bassit to come in ready to ball next year. He should be able to play both wing positions, but no matter what role he ends up in, he can shoot it from all over the court. Although he’ll have to battle for playing time with returning standouts Joseph Young, Dominic Artis, Damyean Dotson and incoming players Brandon Austin and JaQuan Lyle, Coach Dana Alman may choose to utilize Abdul-Bassit’s sweet shot and senior leadership.
It may be cold in Alaska, but Abdul-Bassit’s hot hand will be in Oregon this coming season — and you will know his name is Abdul-Bassit.
Top photo by Don Olsen