Abdul-Malik Abu: Boston’s Best Contribution to the 2015 NCAA Tournament

This Boston native makes it hard not to love NC State.

Abdul-Malik Abu

Photo via AP

After this weekend, your NCAA bracket is nothing more than a pile of piss-poor predictions and disappointment. The first round extinguished whatever hope you had in local long shots Harvard and Northeastern. In round two, an underdog from Ohio (gross) bounced Providence, leaving New Englanders without a dog in the fight.

Now, please don’t jump on Kentucky’s bandwagon or humblebrag about how you still have Wichita State and UCLA in your bracket.

Instead, focus whatever interest and energy you have left into cheering for Boston’s own Abdul-Malik Abu, who is tearing it up on behalf of North Carolina State, which ousted top-ranked Villanova on Saturday evening. Abu, who attended Roxbury’s Mission Grammar as a kid before going on to play at the elite Kimball Union Academy, played a huge role in the upset, putting up 13 points while pulling down a dozen rebounds.

So why are Abu and his eight-seed Wolfpack worthy of your affection?

First off, Abu isn’t afraid of putting POTUS on blast for picking Villanova to go to the title game.

It was a well-earned boast. NC State has had a memorable tournament thus far, squeaking past LSU in the first round with a buzzer beater. After the game, some questioned whether Abu was guilty of offensive goaltending on the game-winning play. He wasn’t.

Abu dazzled the masses with his follow-up performance on Saturday night against no. 1 ranked Villanova. Expressions Elite, the Boston-based AAU team that Abu played several seasons with, cut together this highlight Vine of the power player dominating:

Abu does lose some hometown hero points for going to Marblehead High School for two seasons before transferring to Kimball Union Academy in New Hampshire. But he made up for it by embracing prep-school fashion better than you could ever hope to.

Tomorrow's the day when we finally become KUA alum #Graduation #MyFamily

A photo posted by Abdul-Malik Abu (@ovoabu) on

Abu, who fasted for Ramadan through the most intense recruiting week any high schooler can go through, has shouldered heavy emotions with grace in his freshman year following the tragic murder of three Muslim students near UNC’s campus.

When I heard the news I was in disbelief I couldn't quite understand how this was possible. I couldn't wrap my head around the thought of you and your beautiful wife no longer being alive. you supported me before you met me and showed unconditional love when you did. always excited and happy, always willing to joke around about how the season would go. For the short time I've known you, you blessed me with the opportunity to attend your wedding a wedding I see as my first real wedding. We didn't grow up together but when I heard the news I was hurt like I've known you my whole life. I just wanna say thank you to you your wife and family for the support and making North Carolina feel like home. Rest in peace brother and sisters may Allah bless all three of you with the highest heaven. I know you'll always and forever be a NC State supporter. Rest easy my dude

A photo posted by Abdul-Malik Abu (@ovoabu) on

So if you can stop lying to yourself about having always loved Duke, throw some love to the explosive big man from Boston.