ATHENS — Slowly but surely, Tom Crean is filling in the voids on Georgia basketball’s roster. And he added two major pieces on Monday.
Jabri Abdur-Rahim, a former top-40 recruit who signed with Virginia out of high school, has announced his intention to transfer to Georgia. He’ll be immediately eligible and will have at least three seasons to play.
That was early in the day Monday. Later in the evening, the Bulldogs added Noah Baumann, a 6-foot-6 shooting specialist from Southern Cal who will be coming in as a gradate transfer.
There is good reason many may recognize the name Abdur-Rahim. Abdur-Rahim’s father is former Wheeler High, Cal and NBA star Shareef Abdur-Rahim. Shareef is currently the president of the NBA’s G League.
As for his son, Jabri’s college numbers will certainly create questions and doubts. He averaged only 0.9 points and shot 20 percent from the field while playing in a total of seven games for the Cavaliers, who earned a No. 4 seed in the most recent NCAA Tournament.
But the many teams that expressed interest in claiming Abdur-Rahim out of the NCAA’s transfer portal since he entered on March 29 will point to UVA coach Tony Bennett’s intensively-defensive strategy, notoriously short bench and to Abdur-Rahim’s work in high school. Plus, Abdur-Rahim was still recovering from a foot injury when he arrived in Charlottesville.
“Even Sam Hauser (Virginia’s All-ACC first-teamer last season) needed a year to transition to Tony’s system,” said Norm Wood, who covers the Cavaliers for the Daily Press and The Virginian-Pilot in Newport News, Va. “And even he struggled some with it this year as far as what the coaches wanted him to do on defense. There have been a lot of guys who have redshirted in Bennett’s system.”
At Virginia, Abdur-Rahim played behind Trey Murphy, who averaged 11.3 points and 29.5 minutes per game. But Woods said Abdur-Rahim displayed a strong work ethic, always remaining on the court after games to shoot and practice free throws.
In high school, the 6-foot-7, 214-pound guard was a consensus 4-star recruit. He was rated the No. 38 prospect in the nation by 247Sports and ESPN and No. 45 by ESPN.
Abdur-Rahim averaged 31.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists in an injury-shortened senior season in 2019-20 at Blair Academy in New Jersey. The previous year, Abdur-Rahim averaged 16.0 points and 8.7 rebounds while leading Blair to the New Jersey Prep A state championship. He subsequently was named New Jersey’s Gatorade Player of the Year.
Abdur-Rahim is the third transfer Georgia has grabbed out of the portal. He joins Jailyn Ingram, a 6-7, 219-pound small forward from Florida Atlantic, and 6-10 forward Braelen Bridges of Illinois-Chicago. Both are Georgia natives.
Meanwhile, Crean has lost five players to transfers since the season ended, including two starters. Senior guard Tye Fagan transferred to Ole Miss and sophomore forward Toumani Camara will enroll at Dayton after this semester. The spring signing period for basketball begins Wednesday.