Last season, it was Jahlil Okafor and Cliff Alexander who teamed up on the AAU circuit to form a dominant inside duo. This time around, it's Ivan Rabb and Stephen Zimmerman who are playing together.
Although both players are ranked among the top 10 juniors nationally, there have been some growing pains. Once Rabb and Zimmerman have more time together on the Oakland Soldiers, though, it's going to be a difficult duo to handle.
“It makes the game a lot easier,” Rabb said. “It takes the attention off me. And plus, I'm not the biggest guy, so I don't have to guard the center. I can guard out on the wings, I can guard the power forward. It makes my job a lot easier. And he's also a pretty good shooter, so he stretches the floor when I'm trying to post up.”
Rabb, a 6-foot-10 power forward from Bishop O'Dowd (Calif.), didn't miss a beat on the EYBL circuit last weekend. He averaged 16.7 points and 8.0 rebounds in three games, but really came on strong on Sunday, going for 22 points and 10 rebounds against California Supreme.
“First two games, I wasn't really aggressive,” Rabb said. “I came out this last game, and I was the aggressor. I shot a really good field goal percentage the first two games, only took about seven shots.”
Rabb is in the mix for the No. 1 spot in the class of 2015, fighting with Malik Newman and Ben Simmons for that honor right now. He's not worried about his status in the class, though.
“It doesn't matter, because all of that is reset in college,” Rabb said. “All it does is add a bigger target to my back. I'd rather just be known as one of the best, and No. 1 in the country doesn't really mean anything.”
Rabb will have a chance to go against some of his biggest rivals throughout the course of the EYBL season, with Ben Simmons, Cheick Diallo and other frontcourt stars all on the Nike circuit.
With that said, don't expect Rabb to play any differently when a fellow five-star prospect is standing across from him.
“It doesn't bother me. I don't care who you are,” Rabb said. “It's just basketball to me, I just go out and play. Normally I do pretty well against everyone. I just want to continue that. It's a blessing to have the talents that I have, and I just want to stay humble and continue working hard.”
Rabb is one of the best offensive post players in the country, demonstrating quality post moves and the ability to finish with either hand. He can get position on the block and score with his back to the basket. He's working on his face-up game in the spring and summer to try to become an inside-outside threat.
“My all-around game is pretty good, so I just want to keep adding to my craft,” Rabb said. “Probably the biggest thing is getting bigger and gaining weight. That's my weakness right now. I'm just kind of light, weight-wise.”
In terms of recruiting, he has pretty much every big school in the country showing interest. North Carolina, Georgetown, Arizona and California are coming at him the hardest, with Kansas and UCLA also in pursuit.
“I'm planning on take some unofficials,” Rabb said. “I'll probably take an unofficial to Georgetown and an unofficial to Arizona.”
He is currently ranked No. 2 in the 247Sports Composite.