Late in the first quarter of Largo‘s 77-62 win at Central on Tuesday, sophomore Abdulai Bundu muscled his way to inside position in the post, received a pass and converted a simple layup. As the 6-foot-6 forward headed back up court, he looked toward his teammates on the bench and flexed his muscles, smiling wide.
With 22 points, 19 rebounds and five blocks, Bundu found plenty of moments to savor in his playoff debut. He continues to improve late in his first varsity season, leading the Lions with 17.6 points per game. Coach Lewis Howard believes the youngster has the makings of a high-level Division I recruit.
“He keeps getting better and better and better,” said Howard, whose team travels to Marriotts Ridge on Thursday for a Maryland 2A South quarterfinal.
Long a soccer player, Bundu only began playing organized basketball in eighth grade. The athletic forward has a frame that suggests he will continue to get taller and thicker as he works to refine his skills. He said he’s been told he will grow another two inches, and he wears size 14 shoes.
Though Bundu holds no offers yet, he hopes his new sport will help him land a free college education some day.
“The first game I played, I enjoyed the game,” Bundu said. “I told myself I wanted to be the best, and I just practiced every day.”
Bundu has been dominant for stretches this season, including a four-game span last month in which he averaged 28.5 points. Largo, last season’s Maryland 2A runner-up, won all those games and has nine victories in its past 12 contests.
Bundu’s development has no doubt been sped up by his daily practice battles with 6-foot-5 senior John Majors. The pair give Largo one of the top post combinations in the area. Bundu and Majors totaled 44 points, 39 rebounds and seven blocks against Central with most of the scoring coming on second-chance opportunities.
A year ago at this time, Bundu was following the team’s playoff run as a fan. He said he was decked out in blue at Comcast Center with his fellow students at the Upper Marlboro school, cheering on the Lions in the state final.
Now, Bundu hopes to be part of a deep playoff run on the court.
“I’m just trying my best right now,” Bundu said. “I haven’t been playing for that long. It’s hard waiting. Thanks to my coaches and my team, it’s really just hard work.”