About an hour before every Saturday practice, Largo forward Abudali Bundu meets the Lions coaches in the gym. Once there, the six-foot-eight junior takes part in various vigorous drills, such as ball handling, post moves and bank shots; each one meant to polish his raw yet developing skills.
From Largo’s first game of the season, when Bundu poured in 30 points, to Tuesday night’s 31-point, 18-rebound performance in a win against a solid Central team, the results of Bundu’s hard work and evolving game have been on consistent display.
“Coach [Lewis Howard] has told me that I’ve taken a big leap this year,” said Bundu, who averaged a team-high 17.9 points last year. “I’ve been working on my legs so I can jump higher, catching the ball down low and finishing through contact. Just things like that to get better.”
Averaging 26.8 points per game and well over 10 rebounds, Bundu has become a dominant force inside for the Lions, who sit at 8-1 and in first place in the Prince George’s 3A/2A/1A standings.
After gaining position inside, Bundu has added a quick spin move to his arsenal, allowing him to finish easily at the rim with his long arms. His size and length also make him a strong rebounder on both ends of the floor, often giving the Lions critical second and third opportunities to score.
“He is very physical and plays with a lot of energy,” Howard said after Tuesday’s win. “With the way he’s been developing and how dedicated he is to getting better, we expected this to be a big year for him.”
Bundu’s slender build somewhat casts him as a tweener at the college level. And with this being just his third year of competitive basketball, he remains raw in some areas, like finishing at the basket and his timing with blocking shots. But his potential is undeniable. In some ways, he reminds me of another No. 34 — Charles Barkley, with the way he maneuvers in the post and keeps his elbows wide after pulling down a rebound.
After getting out to a quick start with 13 points and eight rebounds in the first quarter (“I try to do work early in games and get going,” Bundu said.), the junior demonstrated his defensive ability by rising high and pinning a soaring layup attempt by Central’s Davon Thomas on the glass. The play helped seal Largo’s second big win in as many nights after the Lions upset No. 10 Potomac behind Bundu’s 23 points.
Bundu said he’s received some interest from Cincinnati, Temple, Villanova and St. Joseph. That list is likely to lengthen as Bundu continues his development into the spring and summer recruiting periods.
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