Mr. Underrated: Salim Arikat (Menlo College)
Mr. Underrated: Salim Arikat
In 2021 the state of the world was trying to figure out how to recover from the pandemic, that kicked off the year before in 2020. In California certain counties were more open than others, as far as being able to go inside buildings with or without masks, dining in at restaurants and more. For me it was a tough time as a trainer because I was used to training outdoors, but once the weather got colder I knew I would need to get gym access to run some of my events. One event I had plan on running was the Breakfast Club Clinic, which featured high school players training and competing against each other with media present. These clinics became popular during this time because players were getting useful film during the NCAA dead period. One player that decided to sign up was a kid named Salim Arikat.
I will never forget my first interaction with Salim during the breakfast club, as I had no idea who he was when he signed up for the event. While preparing and getting ready for the event to start, players were stretching and shooting around. Two kids walked in the gym and one of them was 6’8’ which instantly caught my attention. After seeing him compete, I was intrigued and wanted to see how his recruitment was going as he was entering his senior year.
Salim went into his senior year with a few partial offers from NAIAs but no full rides. He would then commit to attending Southern California Academy for a postgraduate year, and play another year for AAU for Team Rampage. Playing AAU really helped Salim’s game and more importantly his recruitment.
“My experience playing Independent AAU was very beneficial. Rampage put me on a platform that created me to be recruited from multiple different levels. Rampage created a ton of opportunities for me which wouldn’t have been possible without an independent program”
Salim Arikat stated.
Salim would actually earn division 1 interest from a few schools and even received an offer from St. Francis-Brooklyn. However, the school would eventually shut down their athletic program which left Salim without a Division 1 offer. After finishing up his postgraduate year, Salim was planning on playing for Team Rampage in the spring to get one last look in front of D1s. That would change as Menlo College who is currently a NAIA program that will be moving up to Division 2 next season, would offer Salim a scholarship.
Menlo College has a loaded roster which also includes Rampage Alum Landon Seaman (Vacaville, CA). There are a lot of expectations from Coach Rooney’s group this year and Salim is ready for the challenge.
“This season at Menlo I want to accomplish a GSAC championship and make a run in the NAIA national tournament. Overall I just wanna play my role any way that can help us win”
“My experience at menlo has been great, I’ve really meshed well with the coaching staff and team. I’m excited to see where the season takes us, we got a special group that has a lot of potential”
Salim also added.
Having the opportunity to play Division 1 basketball is a blessing, but so is playing other levels such as D2, D3, juco, or NAIA. Many players and parents should educate themselves on how good those levels are, and can get year to year. The transfer portal has stacked up the talent at the Division 1 level with older players, forcing many good players to play other levels besides Division 1.
“To all the young athletes with the D1 or bust mentality you need to realize that any level of basketball after High-school is a high level. Juco all the way to D1, every level has guys that can play. It’s a lot of work to play at any level let alone the division 1 level”
Salim will look to showcase his ability this year at Menlo College while also keeping the dream of being a professional player alive. So far he is off to a good start as the team is 3-1, and he has been a solid piece off the bench as a freshman.
“After college I definitely see myself playing somewhere overseas or who knows just gonna see where basketball takes me”