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Thursday, November 17, 2011
Preseason Mr. Basketball USA Tracker

By Ronnie Flores

Shabazz Muhammad, the No. 1 recruit in ESPNU 100, leads voting in preseason ESPNHS Mr. Basketball USA Tracker. Jabari Parker, Kyle Anderson and Marcus Smart also collect first-place votes.

Last season, Shabazz Muhammad of Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) was being mentioned in the same breath with the nation's top players such as Bradley Beal (Florida), Anthony Davis(Kentucky), Austin Rivers (Duke) and 2011 Mr. Basketball USA Michael Gilchrist (Kentucky).

Muhammad's junior season ended with a thud, as Bishop Gorman was stunned in its state playoff semifinal game. As a result, the uncommitted recruit dropped nine spots to 15th place in last season's final Mr. Basketball USA Tracker. He was named a first team ESPNHS All-American, but wasn't seriously considered for national player of the year.

Despite nursing a sore ankle in that state semifinal contest, the 6-foot-6 wing made no excuses -- he used the motivation created by that stunning loss to work on his game during the spring and summer.

By fall, Muhammad's talent and unmatched work ethic vaulted him to the top of the ESPNU 100 as the top prospect in the class of 2012 . It also put a bulls-eye on his chest as the player to catch in the race for this year's Mr. Basketball USA honor.

To read the rest of this story and see the Mr. Basketball USA voting results, CLICK HERE.

Ronnie Flores is a senior editor for ESPNHS. He can be reached at ronnie.flores@espn.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @RonFloresESPN