2014 UK recruit Abdul Malik-Abu jumped onto Kentucky’s radar last weekend with an impressive performance in the Peach Jam. The 6’8″ 235 lbs. power forward is considered the 50th best player in the 2014 class by Rivals, and his stock is rising after a good showing on the summer circuit. However, Malik-Abu is also facing a challenge that his fellow prospects are not: he’s a practicing Muslim, and is currently fasting for Ramadan. Starting on July 8th and continuing through August 7th, Malik-Abu will not eat or drink between sunrise and sundown.
NBCSports.com interviewed Malik-Abu after he played in the Nike Global Challenge yesterday, and the talented power forward admitted that he’s pretty tired: “It’s something I have to do, but it’s hard.”
Here’s how Malik-Abu’s schedule works during Ramadan. He stops eating and drinking at about 4:30 a.m. each morning. For the next 16 hours, he has to hope that all the food and all the water that he packed into his stomach the night before keeps him running through out the day. At 8:30 p.m., when the sun sets and he’s allowed to eat again, Malik-Abu gets his Joey Chestnut on, which sounds ideal until you think about just how hard it is to actually fit that much stuff in your stomach.
“I eat as much as I can, but you get full quick because you haven’t eaten all day,” Malik-Abu said. “Just eat in spurts and spurts and spurts and spurts, and drink a lot of water.”
“It sucks. You think, ‘Oh, I’m fasting, I can eat as much as I want,’ but you get so full. You have to force yourself to drink water, or you’re going to pass out.”
So far, fasting hasn’t affected Malik-Abu’s game too much, but he’s still got a ways to go. He says his list of schools is currently at 10 or 11, and that he plans to trim his list after the live period ends. Currently, he doesn’t have an offer from the Cats, but that may change in the coming months.