JEDDAH, 23 November 2007 — Al-Ittihad are known for bringing in great talent to beef up their roster, Shamgod, Tony Madison to name a few. This year with the addition of Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf they bring a seasoned professional to run the offense.
Abdul-Rauf embraced Islam in 1991. After a record-setting college career at Louisiana State University, the Denver Nuggets selected him in the 1990 NBA Draft. He played with Denver until 1995, and was a key player on that team, winning the Most Improved Player award in 1993.
Abdul-Rauf later went on to play for the Sacramento Kings and then the Vancouver Grizzlies. He led the league in free throw percentage in 1994 and 1996. He has the highest career free-throw percentage in league history at .905. After leaving the NBA, he played professional basketball in Europe, retiring at the end of 2004-05 season. For the season 2006-07, he came out of retirement for the third time in his career to play for Aris Thessaloniki. Since retiring from the NBA, he has built a mosque in his hometown of Gulfport, Mississippi, and has become an Imam.
In an interview with Arab News Abdul-Rauf said he enjoys showing kids how to shoot and play the game. He is impressed with Ittihad and is looking forward to a great season with the club. He mentioned that he is and always has been a hard worker and promises to give 100 % at all times.
According to Abdul-Rauf, Jeddah seems very nice and he is looking forward to go to Makkah.
When playing in the NBA Abdul-Rauf was not just a playmaker. His team depended on him to score every night. He answered the call and was known as a good shooter. Good playmaker, and defender. Coach Daniel Mafi has showed how professional he is and this will be his second full year building the team at Ittihad.
With the good example of a well-rounded player like Abdul-Rauf, we can expect the young Ittihad players to improve. It looks like Ittihad will be on top again this season.