Blog Entry

In front of the biggest coaches, Shabazz steps up

Posted on: July 22, 2011 3:31 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 4:38 pm
 
By Matt Norlander

LAS VEGAS -- I just spent the past 90 minutes at the Rancho High School gym watching CBSSports.com's No. 1 overall 2012 recruit Shabazz Muhammad.

It was a dee-light.

You can hear about a player, or see said player on shaky YouTube videos ad naseum, but nothing matches being a few feet away and seeing his skill set in person for the first time.

Muhammad, a lefty, can deftly go each way. He was throwing down dunks with ease over players that have much more body mass and height than him. (Muhammad's a sturdy 6 feet, 5 inches.) He also crossed up a few guys from about 22 feet and swished 3s as Mike Krzyzewski, John Calipari, Josh Pastner, Ben Howland and other drooling coaches in the hunt for his services looked on from the light-gray bleachers.

It was incredibly impressive, most of all, because his team came behind to beat the Atlanta Celtics, a team that's one of the more stacked groups in the country. Muhammad had 38 points, continuing his trend of filling up scorebooks this month. His 38 comes in an economical way, if that makes sense. He's certainly not a ballhog.

Afterward, a small swarm of reporters -- myself included -- got about two minutes with the future NBA lottery pick (only an unforseen injury or life on the lam will prevent that from happening) before his coach got him out of the gym as quickly as possible.

"I'm taking it slow," he said of not only the recruiting process, but the pressure that's supposed to exist on his 17-year-old shoulders. "I'm going to focus on [teams recruiting me] in August, after the AAU season."

Muhammad listed off, in order, Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, Texas, Texas A&M, UCLA, Memphis and UNLV as schools he'll focus on. The A&M choice, I believe, is a relatively new one. From what I gather, there's an assistant at the school who's close with Muhammad's father.
 
Muhammad also said his shooting is now the top priority for him. Said he's taken the criticism of his jump shot seriously and will continue to work to improve it diligently. He really couldn't have been more impressive. And best of all, he's a good kid. Everyone says that about him. Grounded, intelligent, tempered and talented.

It's not only easy, it's blindingly obvious why this kid is so coveted.

Photo via Larry Lawson
Comments

Since: Jun 28, 2011
Posted on: July 28, 2011 6:50 pm
 

In front of the biggest coaches, Shabazz steps up

Shabazz has NBA talent regardless of where he goes! UK, DUKE, it doesn't matter, this guy has unbelievable skills and will more than likely be a ONE-AND-DONE! 



Since: Aug 10, 2006
Posted on: July 26, 2011 11:47 am
 

In front of the biggest coaches, Shabazz steps up

If Duke wants him, that is probably where he will end up.  Most of the kids with a good head on their shoulders recognize what Coach K and Duke as an institution can do for your life... not to mention they are pretty darn good at basketball as well. 

unless he wants a carreer in the NBA.  Then definately, dUKe is NOT the way to go. 



Since: Oct 16, 2007
Posted on: July 26, 2011 8:27 am
 

In front of the biggest coaches, Shabazz steps up

When ever you see a KY fan promote or advertize the Dribble Drive motion offense then you should immediately  know this guy has no idea what he is talking about.



Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: July 23, 2011 2:46 am
 

In front of the biggest coaches, Shabazz steps up

First it is impressive to not only have elite talent but to want to improve it every single day and to be a good citizen and not too cocky as well. In addition the ability to play his best before the greater pressure is a key characteristic. So kudos to Shabazz for the all of the above. The recruiting of a top talent often takes unusual turns and it remains to be seen, despite the multiple UK advertisements below, of where he sees himself fitting best.

There apparently are only a few players in the 2012 class who are likely bound for the NBA Draft lottery. That makes him shine all the more. But the last time a freshman led his team to the NCAA championships might have been Carmelo Anthony. It is rare because each new level has its own learning curve and that takes at least the first few months to begin to catch on. Last year's two sure things (Harrison Barnes and Perry Jones) both played below their potential as Freshmen at UNC and Baylor and chose to stay in school another year.

Another factor making the recruitment of Shabazz interesting is the NBA's intent to change the one and done rule in their next CBA. Without a CBA there may not be a June draft next year and when there is the 19 year olds may be required to stay another year. That would perhaps mean the Shabazz's class will be the first to be ensnared by this change.



Since: Nov 6, 2006
Posted on: July 22, 2011 9:00 pm
 

In front of the biggest coaches, Shabazz steps up

If Duke wants him, that is probably where he will end up.  Most of the kids with a good head on their shoulders recognize what Coach K and Duke as an institution can do for your life... not to mention they are pretty darn good at basketball as well. 



Since: Jul 1, 2011
Posted on: July 22, 2011 7:50 pm
 

In front of the biggest coaches, Shabazz steps up

People wonder why Cal gets all the recruits and this is what leads to all the bs rumors about cheating. You said it best saying Cal puts his players first. This is how he has always been, almost to a fault. He plays to the players strengths and doesnt put them in a system where there talents are hinderd. This is why he puts so many players in the NBA. The Dribble Drive shows the players talent and allows individuals to shine in a team first concept. His teams have great chemistry as well. And if he has a team that would be better suited in a different offense he is not to pig headed to change it. Look at the inside/out offense he ran at UK his first year and the pick and roll offense and isolation plays of last years teams. What players wouldnt want to play for a coach like that?

Ive heard people say since UK doesnt have 1 recruit for the 2012 class that its time to worry. He will pull down a top 5 class. He already has transfer Ryan Harrow at pg and word from the pickup games is that he is dominating. Shabazz is more likely than not to come to UK for his one year, dominate, and then go pro.



Since: Jan 4, 2010
Posted on: July 22, 2011 7:11 pm
 

In front of the biggest coaches, Shabazz steps up

There just isn't enough media exposure on the west coast.  I don't see him staying there.



Since: Jan 4, 2010
Posted on: July 22, 2011 7:08 pm
 

In front of the biggest coaches, Shabazz steps up

He is simply an awesome player and I hope he will follow in the footsteps of John Wall and Brandon Knight at UK.  No player has under-achieve playing for Cal who puts the players first, the way it should be.  I admire the facts that the millionaires Cal helped produced are coming back to finish their school work as well.   




Since: Dec 16, 2006
Posted on: July 22, 2011 6:33 pm
 

In front of the biggest coaches, Shabazz steps up

No Arizona? Rummer is that the Cats are high on this kid. Let's hope he stays home on the west coast and goes to the primer basketball destination west of Kansas.  



Since: Apr 12, 2007
Posted on: July 22, 2011 5:00 pm
 

Shabazz's College Choice

Sounds like a great young man that would fit perfectly with similar intelligent, great young players to go where only the smartest, best, and most appreciated players go to prepare for their chosen profession in the NBA:  KentuckY.  UK is the only place in the world where the players' passions for the game are matched or exceeded by hundreds of thousands of fans that show it daily.  The KentuckY Effect is there waiting for Shabazz; whenever he's ready to come to cbb's heaven on earth.


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com