After an uncertain summer, former Michigan Wolverines guard Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman has landed his first professional contract. The Pennsylvania native and Michigan basketball standout signed a deal late last week to join the Canton Charge, the NBA G-League affiliate of the Cleveland Cavaliers. The news was first reported by MLive’s Andrew Kahn.
An unheralded high school recruit who stumbled onto John Beilein’s radar late in 2014, Abdur-Rahkman became one of Michigan’s most reliable two-way players, averaging 12.1 points on 37% three-point shooting in his senior year and playing 35 minutes a game throughout the Wolverines’ 2018 NCAA tournament run.
Abdur-Rahkman began his career at Michigan playing important early minutes on a struggling team riddled by injuries and quickly became one of Michigan’s preferred options in late-clock situations. Beilein often praised Abdur-Rahkman’s inexplicable ability to find his way to the hole and get “east-coast buckets.” In his junior and senior years, the speedy guard developed a reputation as a lock-down defender and played a big part in Michigan’s defense being ranked third nationally in 2018.
Though Abdur-Rahkman had expressed a desire to continue his playing days beyond Michigan, the reality of professional sports hit him hard in the first few months after leaving Ann Arbor. He went undrafted in June and spent much of the summer recovering from a broken bone in his foot. Meanwhile, his fellow Wolverines, Mo Wagner and Duncan Robinson, stood out in NBA summer league games and signed professional deals soon after.
But patience has always been one of Abdur-Rahkman’s virtues, and now the Michigan stalwart will get the chance he’s long waited for. He will have the opportunity to play with NBA-level talent for the 50-game G-League season, improve his game, and stay on the radar of scouts and executives from across the NBA.
And though it’s not a foolproof path to a full-time NBA contract, the statistics on G-League success over the last few years should give Abdur-Rahkman some hope. According to the league’s website, more than 30 G-League prospects were called up and signed by an NBA team in each of the past seven seasons and 265 players with NBA G League experience were on NBA rosters at the end of the 2017-18 regular season – an all-time high for the league.
The Canton Charge will begin its regular season against the Wisconsin Herd on November 3rd.