Detroit Country Day Boys basketball star Kareem Aburashed chooses Macomb
Detroit Country Day big man Kareem Aburashed is a family-oriented teammate.
And sometimes that can get in the way of his own game.
Take the Yellowjackets’ Chris Leflore Showcase game against Detroit Mumford on Saturday, for example.
The 6-foot-9 senior got the ball in the paint early in the second quarter. Usually, throwing a two-handed dunk or pulling a one-foul while laying down a contested shot isn’t for him.
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Except that on this particular game, he passed it to a teammate on the opposite block who had just come on from the bench for the first time. But the teammate fumbled around with the ball. Aburashed recaptured the ball and again forced a pass off the bench to the same teammate. The teammate failed to quite catch the ball while Aburashed stood in the paint, so the umpires pinned the power forward for a three-second call.
“This is your fault!” Country Day coach Mark Bray yelled at Aburashed as the senior jogged back on defense. Bray then pointed and yelled at him, repeating, “This is your fault!”
The eventual 75-40 win over the Mustangs was already in hand. So sales didn’t matter. But the moment was a perfect snapshot of what kind of player Aburashed really is: putting his teammates above himself.
For that reason, it came as no surprise when Aburashed announced on Twitter Tuesday that he had signed on to Macomb Community College, one of the hottest up-and-coming junior collegiate basketball programs in the country.
As of this writing, the Monarchs are ranked 13th in the most recent Division II poll and do so with a brand new coaching staff that has placed building relationships with recruits high on their to-do list.
Last offseason, they hired former Roseville coach Hassan Nizam, a former Michigan High School Coach of the Year honoree in 2019, and he’s surrounded himself with a who’s who list of assistants. This included recruiting director Marko Maksimovski, an absolute doer on the travel basketball scene.
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In fact, Maksimovski even coached Aburashed and Country Day teammate Julian Scott at the AAU circuit as part of the M&M Boyz 17-U program.
What sets Macomb CC apart from the other JUCOs in Metro Detroit is his talent for stepping in front of recruits. When the Monarchs aren’t attending a real game, their coaches are recruiting. Whether it’s observing open gyms on a lazy Sunday night or taking an entourage of four or five coaches to a small school’s high school game, they show up all the time.
Just in the past week A fan on Twitter pointed this out how many times you have seen Macomb CC staff at games. “These guys are always in the gym. It’s no secret Macomb basketball is where it is,” read part of her tweet.
In addition, the entire workforce is represented on social media. They like, retweet, and brag about every offer that Metro Detroit recruits get, whether or not it hurts their chances of hiring the recruit. These guys don’t bother stealing DI or D-II players from bigger colleges. They just want to see kids get as far as they can go.
Aburashed holds official offers from D-II schools such as Lake Erie College and Walsh University in Ohio, and NAIA interests from Concordia-Ann Arbor, Madonna University, and Rochester University, among others.
Instead of playing at a higher level, he opted for the family atmosphere of Macomb CC.
“I minimized all my options. I had D-II options and some walk-ons,” Aburashed said. “I really realized that I’m better than what I had (offers). So I just had to take the right path. The coaches are like family. I know it will be the right decision in the long run.
“That’s probably one of the reasons why I signed. They’re just so committed and they just know what’s going on. They know their players very well. Marko was with me. He coached me at AAU. You know how I play and.” such things. They’ve been in the game for most of their lives. I know her coaching is just impeccable.
Aburashed is expected to follow in the footsteps of outgoing sophomore John Ukomadu, a 6-7 two-star who has given his all for the Monarchs. Ukomadu, a 2019 Roseville graduate, has seven DI offers to date, including interests from Central Michigan, Kent State and most recently Stony Brook.
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“The coaches said I had to have a big impact from the start,” said Aburashed. “I’m willing to work no matter what when this season is over, but I’m willing to work with my team (Country Day) all the time. But after that I have to go to the gym and get ready for the next level.”
Fans got a glimpse of what Aburashed will bring to the Monarchs next season during Saturday’s showcase.
He posted a game-high 27 points despite barely playing in the fourth quarter. He did it in the suit, with medium-sized knights and in the transition. He was 5 of 6 from the foul line, which included two and one opportunity.
Perhaps the highlight of his afternoon came when he vaulted just past the foul line and alternately floated through the air for a one-handed dunk.
His future at Macomb CC is bright.
“He has developed a great relationship with this coaching staff and will continue to develop there,” Bray said. “Obviously he will be there for two years at most to find his staff, but he goes there to get free education, to develop as a player and obviously he will end up somewhere else in the future. This is great space to develop. These are good coaches and good people. You’re kind of part of his family. You trained him for a while. He’s known her for a while. I feel great about it.”
Most high school rosters have a 12-man roster, but Bray has 15 this year because the pandemic has cut most of his seniors’ playing time.
The Yellowjackets missed their district final in 2020 and only played nine games a year ago. So he’s giving players who wouldn’t normally see the floor the chance to play now.
In the fourth, Country Day was close to a 40-point lead when a slew of backups were floored. Jamal Newberry hit back-to-back 3-pointers, Eric Grenadier made a shot and James Blair hit some free throws.
Aburashed, who stood up and started waving his hands, led the cheering group for them on the bench. Shortly thereafter, each of his teammates sitting next to him got up and started yelling.
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As the last 15 seconds ticked off the scoreboard, a referee motioned for Aburashed and the rest of the Yellowjackets to sit down. They didn’t stick to it. So a bank warning was issued.
After the final horn, Aburashed rushed onto the pitch to celebrate with his buddies. Bray could only smile, although early in the game he was annoyed with Aburashed for being too fond of passing.
“He’s a team first child,” added Bray. “He wants to share the ball and that’s our system. You see all our guys are doing the extra pass. … This is us. But part of the maturity of understanding when it’s your turn to take it and put it in. It’s part of his development and he’ll have to learn that for the rest of this year and at Macomb.
Brandon Folsom reports on high school sports in Metro Detroit for Hometown Life. Follow him on Twitter @folsombrandonj.