Recently USF head Coach Stan Heath hosted several hoops prospects, with one of them being Musa Abdul-Aleem, a standout JUCO guard from Georgia Perimeter College that was flying under the radar, but the 6-foot-5, 220 pound prospect has been blowing up this summer after being named a top performer at the Jerry Mullen's JUCO Top 100 Camp in St. Charles MO, and the All-American JUCO Showcase in Orlando, FL..
"My visit to USF was amazing," Musa said. "I loved everything about it. The weather was beautiful, the campus is great and Tampa is just a beautiful city. I really had a marvelous time. It was also my father's birthday, so that made it that much more special."
The 6-foot-5, 220 pound guard wasn't a hot college prospect due taking a different route through high school and not participating in AAU ball. He played as a freshman at King high school in Tampa where he was an honorable mention All-Hillsborough County player, then transferred to West Oaks outside of Orlando, and then to Brevard Christian in Melbourne, all while also being home schooled, and this caused him to not be sanctioned by the NCAA to play Division I college basketball.
After high school, Abdul-Aleem, a devout Muslim, quit playing basketball and made a pilgrimage to Mecca to further study his Muslim faith. After taking a year off, Abdul-Aleem returned to Georgia and led Georgia Perimeter in scoring with 14.6 points per game in his freshman season, was named the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association Freshman of the Year award and to the coaches All-Region first team in 2010.
The 23 year old prospect started receiving heavy interest including Georgia Tech, South Florida, Georgetown, Florida State, Maryland, West Virginia, Baylor, Gonzaga, Memphis, Marshall, Nebraska, Rhode Island and South Carolina, but began focusing on Memphis and South Florida. He first took an official visit to Memphis and then a recent visit to USF.
"Everything was great right from the start," said Abdul-Aleem. "When we first landed I was able to go to the Mosque and do my prayers as soon as we arrived. Then we went to the campus for a tour, got to see the Marshall center, see the facilities, meet with the coaches and spend time with the players. I also got to meet the Athletic director Doug Woolard, the strength and condition coach, and just had a great time."
"The campus was off the charts. It was amazingly beautiful," said Musa. "My father remembered the campus from years ago, but he said everything was completely different now. They added a lot more buildings, and everything was brand new looking, clean and he couldn't believe how much nicer everything is now. The Marshall center was just great and they have a very diverse make-up of students. We both just loved it and I already miss Tampa already and want to go back."
Academics are very important to Abdul-Aleem and he was impressed with the Bulls focus on school with student athletes.
"I met with the advisors and I like how they treat academics. I had a test to take when I got back so they let me use the study hall for a few hours so I could study for my math test and that was really nice," said Musa. "They're also one of the few schools that has agreement with Apple and all the student athletes get a Mac Book, and that made me say wow."
During the visit Musa got to spend time in the Bulls brand new state-of-the-art Les Mumas Basketball Practice facility, and was thoroughly impressed.
"Their practice facility is simply unbelievable and everything about it is just amazing," said Musa. "It's beautiful and brand new with so many different aspects, from the different gyms and lounges for men and women, the meeting rooms, and just the way it's all laid out, the architecture is fantastic. It's almost hard to describe." "When I was in there shooting around with the players, the light was shining through the glass on the court and the atmosphere was truly amazing."
"It's not even completely done yet, they're still putting furniture and art work in and they're rebuilding the main arena," said Musa. "I got to see it them working on through the tunnel but they showed me the model of it, and everything was on point."
Abdul-Aleem got to spend a lot of time with the USF players and developed a bond
"I got to hang with all of them, Toarlyn (Fitzpatrick), Blake (Nash), Jawanza (Poland), Gus (Gilchrist), and I had a strong connection with Vic (Rudd). Me and him were going head to head, shooting threes and just going at it on the court. I really enjoyed talking with him afterwards," said Musa. "The chemistry with all of them was wonderful. We all got along real well and we meshed real well on the court. I got to ask them lots of questions and they're all great guys."
One of the highlights was Abdul-Aleem getting to attend the Bulls game against FAMU, and loved the experience with the Bulls fan base.
"We went to the football game and man they beat them 70-17 and they must have done that for me," said Abdul-Aleem. "They must have known about me, because the fans had signs and were chanting ‘We want Musa, we want Musa!, and they had in on the scoreboard too."
"Another highlight was when I walked into the gym. A lot of the fans ran in with their shirts off and their bodies painted and were screaming my name and did a little skit for me," said Musa. "The players were even saying man they didn't do that for me, but it really made me feel wanted."
Another one of the strong points for the Bulls is the impression that Coach Heath and staff have made on Musa throughout his recruitment, and the weekend visit just strengthened that.
"They're a great staff and one of the best coaching staffs in the entire country," said Abdul-Aleem. "They are truly a remarkable group of guys and they get along very well. Coach Roc (Steve Roccaforte) is my favorite, he's just a funny guy to hang with, and I love the whole staff."
"My meeting with Coach Heath went very well. He's a great coach," said Musa. "We talked about a lot of things; how much he liked me as a person and as a player and how much he needed me there. He said how he would take care of me and develop me as a player. It was a very good meeting."
Abdul-Aleem said he was considering South Florida, Memphis, Gonzaga, and Georgia Tech, but the visit to Tampa changed things.
"The visit affected it a lot," said Musa. "They did a great job of recruiting me, and they are on top of my board right now."
After an awesome visit Musa wasn't ready to commit, and wanted to go home and sleep on it before making his choice.
Stay tuned with USFNation.com as we keep you updated on Musa Abdul-Aleem's recruitment..