CHICAGO -- With the approach he took to this game, did it really surprise anyone that Shabazz Muhammad of Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) captured MVP honors at the 2012 McDonald's All-American Game?
Muhammad let it be known early he was in charge, scoring nine consecutive points for the West squad in the game's first three minutes. The 6-foot-6 forward set the tone and gave the West team a quick 11-2 lead en route to its 106-102 victory.
"At the shootaround, I was thinking I wanted to come out and dominate," said Muhammad, who finished with a game-high 21 points on 10-of-18 shooting to go along with six rebounds. "At the beginning of the game, I was really getting up and down the court, and things were going good for me."
Rated the No. 2 recruit in the ESPNU 100, Muhammad's competitive fire is one of the attributes that separates him from the other players in the Class of 2012. Capturing MVP honors at Wednesday night's game was the culmination of that approach.
"No matter what event you go to, you want to be known as the best player in the event," Muhammad said. "When everything is cooking, it's a beautiful thing."
Muhammad said he's going to return to Las Vegas and relax for a few days before focusing on his next endeavors -- playing in the Jordan Brand Classic (ESPN, April 14, 7 p.m. ET) and making his much-anticipated college decision.
In a nationally televised pregame interview, Muhammad said three colleges are still in play for his services: UCLA, Kentucky and Duke, in no particular order. At the news conference following the game, Muhammad said it would be special to join Archie Goodwin of Sylvan Hills (Little Rock, Ark.) and Alex Poythress of Northeast (Clarksville, Tenn.) at Kentucky if he were to choose the Wildcats. Those were the two players seated next to him at the podium.
"If I went to Kentucky," Muhammad said, "that can be a really good class."
Same Town, Different Team
Despite growing up 15 minutes apart, Gary Harris of Hamilton Southeastern (Fishers, Ind.) and Yogi Ferrell of Park Tudor (Indianapolis) ended up playing on opposite McDonald's All-American teams Wednesday night.
Ferrell was one of the standouts for the winning West squad, finishing with three points and a team-high eight assists. Harris suited up for the losing East squad, finishing with two points and five rebounds.
"It's kind of crazy ... we live in the same state and the same city," said Harris, a Michigan State pledge who is rated the No. 11 recruit in the ESPNU 100. "I think it's kind of funny how it all worked out."
"When it was announced on ESPN, a lot of people [in Indianapolis] were surprised by it," said Ferrell, an Indiana recruit who led Park Tudor to its second consecutive Indiana Class 2A state title this season.
They never attended school together but got to know each other quite well on the AAU circuit over the years. They first met in fourth grade, and to say Harris was impressed with Ferrell's game would be an understatement.
"The first time I saw him, he was the quickest player I've ever seen," Harris said. "Things haven't changed much since then."