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Desert Pines star Trevon Abdullah-Booker grinding to disprove ‘tweener’ tag

Desert Pines senior Trevon Abdullah-Booker hates the word “tweener,” a term he often is dubbed by recruiting gurus and their websites.

In basketball circles, the label is an instant knock on players and has proven to keep high school athletes — even the stars — in recruiting purgatory, a place where one seemingly doesn’t fit any of the court’s five designated positions.

Abdullah-Booker, though, doesn’t buy that “too big for this, too small for that” notion.

“I’m used to overcoming adversity,” he said. “So I don’t really listen to what they have to say. I know what I can do and what I’m capable of.”

The 6-foot-5-inch standout, who decommitted from UNR six months ago, is working to put the hackneyed word to rest this season while finding a college destination for next winter.

“I just want to have fun and finish out my senior season with a bang and win a ring,” said Abdullah-Booker, a three-star recruit on Rivals.com. “We’ve been (to state) three years in a row and lost every single year. So we have to get it this year.”

You wouldn’t think Abdullah-Booker, who averaged 11.4 points and 5.9 rebounds last season, would have trouble finding a college home. He’s a four-year varsity player who has been one of the top players in Southern Nevada. But since backing off his Wolf Pack commitment, Abdullah-Booker’s recruiting stock has turned lukewarm after a brief move to Chicago.

“(UNR assistant) coach (Doug) Stewart was one of the guys who was recruiting me really tough,” Abdullah-Booker said. “And he ended up resigning and got a job at Tulane. So I reopened it. … Planned on having a big year this year.”

Since his return to Las Vegas, Abdullah-Booker has played like a man on a mission. With key teammates sitting out because of injuries and eligibility concerns, he has taken on a much larger role in the offense. Abdullah-Booker scored a combined 61 points in the first two games of the season and averages 23.8 points for the Jaguars (3-1).

“Jerell Springer and Capri (Uzan) were out, so I had to put the team on my back,” he said. “And there are a lot of football players out there — not too many hoopers. They’re inexperienced, so I’m just putting the team on my back and playing my role.”

And, more important, he’s developing his game to prove he can play all over the court.

“He can shoot it and play on the perimeter. He’s a good 3-point shooter,” Desert Pines coach Mike Uzan said. “But at this level, with his athleticism, he’s a man among boys in the paint. …

“(Tweener is) just another excellent term by some excellent critics. Those are guys that feel like they know it all. And there’s nothing I can do about it. Just play basketball. Tre knows how to play (positions) 1-5. And that’s what’s important. As long as he understands all the positions out there, he’ll be fine.”

Abdullah-Booker, who has drawn interest from Big Sky, Mountain West and West Coast conference schools, knows the best still lies ahead.

“I always want to showcase my talent,” he said. “But throughout the four years (at Desert Pines), I already had Capri, Jordan Simon and Coby Myles, so I couldn’t really showcase what I could do on the wing. But in college, I’ll be able to show what I can do. I just got to wait for my time to come.”

Contact reporter Ashton Ferguson to aferguson@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0430. Follow @af_ferguson on Twitter.

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