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Summer grind in L.A. key for record-setting Abdul Bah, red-hot MSU Billings men

Posted at 3:02 PM, Jan 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-12 17:02:16-05

BILLINGS — Montana State Billings senior guard Abdul Bah had a night for the record books last weekend, as he buried all seven of his attempts from beyond the arc in a blowout win over GNAC opponent Simon Fraser.

That marked the most 3-point makes without a miss in MSUB history and also tied the Great Northwest Athletic Conference record.

Yellowjackets coach Mick Durham joked that he doesn’t have a guy who can make seven layups without a miss, let alone 3-pointers. Bah was certainly feeling it that night.

“Honestly, when you’re in a zone like that, in any sport, you just feel like anything you put up — or anything you throw in football — it’s just going to go in or the runner is going to catch your pass, or if you’re a golfer it’s going in,” Bah told MTN Sports. “It’s just a special moment, honestly. When you’re locked in like that it feels really good.”

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Bah, or "AB" as he’s known, is having success. When back home in Los Angeles during the summers he hones his craft against some of the world’s best, having played against guys like Lonzo Ball, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, among others.

“There’s not a lot of wiggle room to be the college guy. You have to have a professionalism about you. I go to open runs at Rico Hines at UCLA. He’s a pretty big basketball guy. He’ll have UCLA’s starting five there, Toronto’s three teams — the first team, second team, third team, they’ll all be there — and you have to win games, somehow.”

Bah is hoping to join the professional basketball ranks after college. He knows the NBA is a stretch, but the G-League, where his older brother plays for the Washington Wizards' affiliate, is in reach.

“Jobs aren’t easy to get these days. It doesn’t matter what career you’re in, it’s hard to get a job and a well-paying job. I just want to give myself the best opportunity,” Bah said. “There’s no promise that anywhere I go next year I’ll be playing more than 10 minutes. I’ll be a rookie and professional contracts, they’re scarce like I said. I have to be able to do what I do efficiently in the time that I get. If its two minutes, 10 minutes or 30 minutes, I have to be able to do what I do and do it well.”

It’s been a wild journey for Bah to Billings, going from East L.A. Community College, to Cal State San Bernardino. Then Covid-19 hit, and AB thought he might have to hang the sneakers up. But then the call he’d been waiting for came.

“I was at work at a U-Haul on my forklift, and (Rocky Mountain College) coach Bill Dreikosen calls me and says, ‘Hey, something happened and we need a guard.’ Alright. I bought my ticket and I was here,” said Bah.

After one All-Frontier Conference season with the Battlin’ Bears, he decided to move to the Division II level across town with the Yellowjackets.

“I’m coming off the bench, averaging double figures and shooting the ball efficiently in a pretty tough conference. What I’m doing is not easy, it’s just the hard work that’s finally paying off,” Bah said.

As a team, MSU Billings is off to a blazing start to the season. The Jackets are 12-4 overall and in first place in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference with a 6-0 league mark. MSUB has a huge game at home Thursday night against Saint Martin's (13-2, 5-0 GNAC) and will try to keep hold of the top position in the conference.

It’s all leading to just another rung in what AB hopes is a tall ladder.