Kennesaw State is on the cusp of a breakout season. Amir Abdur-Rahim wants to make sure the momentum doesn’t slow down any time soon.

At the spry coaching age of 41, Kennesaw State head coach Amir Abdur-Rahim is wise beyond his years.

He pairs a charismatic, youthful energy with the poise and humility of a longtime coaching veteran. It’s one of the many reasons why the Owls haven’t missed a beat during their four-year transition from national afterthought to NCAA Tournament contender.

On Jan. 9 of this year, two days after improving to a program-best 11-6 start, Abdur-Rahim had a cautious message for his group despite the recent win:

Fellas, you need to be prepared for what’s coming. If we’re not prepared, it’s going to eat us alive.

Abdur-Rahim is the first to admit that he doesn’t know everything about coaching. After all, the 2022-23 season is just his fourth in the main chair — at any level — and the first without COVID interruptions.

The young head coach, who grew up a short drive from Kennesaw State’s Atlanta campus, learned a valuable lesson throughout his decade as a full-time assistant: This time of year, as the calendar approaches March, teams either “survive” or “attack” the remainder of the season. Abdur-Rahim has experienced both.

After an all-conference playing career under Billy Kennedy at Southeastern Louisiana, Abdur-Rahim took a graduate assistant job under Kennedy at Murray State in 2006 while pursuing a master’s degree.

“I had no interest in coaching whatsoever,” Abdur-Rahim told Heat Check CBB with a laugh.

Log in to your HC+ account or sign up now to view this content.