Friday, April 6, 2012
Final Mr. Basketball USA Tracker
By Ronnie Flores
Throughout the major holiday tournaments, showcases and state tournaments around the country, three names remained at the top of the weekly ESPNHS Mr. Basketball USA debate: Shabazz Muhammad of Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas), Jabari Parker of Simeon (Chicago) and Kyle Anderson of St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.).
MR. BASKETBALL USA
ESPNHS' panel of ten experts tracks the progress of the nation's top players each week during the 2011-2012 season.
Although he wasn't last season's ESPNHS National Junior of the Year, Muhammad was the early Mr. Basketball USA frontrunner. With his competitive approach to every game and performances on big stages, Muhammad's candidacy never wavered at any point during the season.
Even Nerlens Noel’s decision to reclassify back to the class of 2012 didn't change the panel's assessment of Muhammad despite his drop in the ESPNU 100 rankings. If anything, Muhammad's unseating as the top prospect in the ESPNU 100 only served to fuel a competitive fire that's consistently a few notches higher than any major prospect in high school basketball.
What Noel's reclassification did do was put him in the conversation with the trio of leading candidates. The shot-blocking extraordinaire trailed Parker by only two points (65-63) in week 5 voting results. Parker, the No. 1 ranked prospect in the ESPNU 60 and last season's ESPNHS National Sophomore of the Year, began the season in second place, seven points (77-70) ahead of Anderson.