Abdul-Bassit to play in NBA D-League alongside fellow Alaskan

October 30, 2015

Jalil Abdul-Bassit basaketball

Jalil Abdul-Bassit

Anchorage’s Jalil Abdul-Bassit could have gone to Brazil to play professional basketball and he would have probably lived like a king.

But he turned it down to follow his dream.

Instead of the lap of luxury, Abdul-Bassit will grind it out the NBA D-League. Not everything is about money.

“I had a discussion with my family about it and at this point in my career I’m not playing for dollar signs,” he told me. “I’m chasing my dream of playing against the best players in the world and I felt the D-League being right under the NBA gave me my best opportunity to do so.”

Abdul-Bassit, of East High fame, has signed a rookie deal with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the NBA Development affiliate of the Indiana Pacers. Fort Wayne won the D-League championship in 2014 and played in the Finals in 2015.

“To play for an established team is a blessing,” he said. “To be able to be a part and contribute to a winning culture there is a great opportunity for me and my career moving ahead.”

The D-League is just one step below the NBA but the two leagues couldn’t be farther apart when it comes to player contracts. It’s not for players looking for a quick pay day.

Abdul-Bassit is coming off a super senior season at the University of Oregon, where he emerged as one of the best long-range shooters in the Pac-12.

The 6-foot-4 guard averaged 8.2 points in 35 games and his .434 3-point shooting percentage ranked first on the Ducks and fifth in the conference.

“I can shoot it with the best of them,” he said.

Abdul-Bassit will be the third Alaskan to play in the NBA D-League and the second to play with Fort Wayne.

Anchorage’s Ramon Harris is entering his fourth season with the team. He is a starting small forward and owns a championship ring from 2014.

Abdul-Bassit has been friends with Harris since he was a kid.

“It’ll be fun to play with someone I have known growing up,” Abdul-Bassit said. “In a way he can take me under his wing a little bit and teach me the ropes on how things are done there.”