High-SchoolBoys-Basketball: Nevada

Who Else? Muhammad is McDonald's MVP

March, 29, 2012

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.

Shabazz Muhammad MVP McDonald's
Charles Rex Arbogast/APShabazz Muhammad scored a game-high 21 points to earn MVP honors at the McDonald's All-American Game.
"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."

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

Players give midseason grades

January, 30, 2012
Rodney Purvis has never been one to rest on his laurels so it’s no wonder that when asked what midseason grade he’d give himself, Purvis didn’t hesitate to start with what he wanted to improve on.

“As a player you can’t think that you’re doing everything right,” Purvis said. “You should always be looking to improve. That’s the only way you’ll reach your goals, and mine are high.”

L.J. Rose
Steve Blake/CKY SportsL.J. Rose is happy with where he's at, but wants to continue to improve.
Purvis isn’t alone there.

We asked a handful of players to grade their performances at the midpoint of the high school season. From the top players in the country to players on the come-up, the consensus was that there’s room for improvement.

Rodney Purvis, Upper Room Christian Academy (Raleigh, N.C.), SG, 2012
Signed to: North Carolina State
My midseason grade is…
“Definitely a B+ because there is so much more that I want to improve on. Things like defense, rebounding, talking more and getting a more consistent motor.”

L.J. Rose, Westbury Christian (Houston), PG, 2012
Signed to: Baylor
My midseason grade is…
“Got to say a B because you can always get better. But I feel like I’ve done a great job of being more of a vocal leader on the court and also been playing pretty well. We are now 20-2 and we are hoping to keep the losses at two and finish out March with a state title.”

Rasheed Sulaimon, Strake Jesuit (Houston), SG, 2012
Signed to: Duke
My midseason grade is…
“B+ because I feel like I’ve done a really good job of leading my team to a 19-3 record and played well offensively and defensively. I still need to get better, get my teammates better and just get better as a whole.”

Shabazz Muhammad, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas), SF, 2012
My midseason grade is…
“B+ because I feel like I’ve done a good job of leading my team and contributing on the offensive and defensive ends. I do whatever it takes to help my team win.”

Xavier Rathan-Mayes, Huntington Prep (Huntington, W.Va.), SG, 2013
My midseason grade is…
“A- and the reason for that is I've been playing real well this season putting up big numbers, getting other guys involved and playing good defense. I always take the challenge of guarding the best player on the other team.”

Jason Jordan is the basketball editor for ESPNHS. He can be reached at jason.x.jordan.-ND@espn.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @JayJayESPN.

Stopping Shabazz Muhammad is a daunting task

January, 20, 2012
On a frigid January afternoon, Shabazz Muhammad calmly stands in the media room at Blake Arena in Springfield, Mass., dead-center in a mob of audio and video recorders shoved just inches away from his face while notebook-jotting reporters attempt to disguise the same questions over and over.

Forget about the fact that he’s just led Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) -- then ranked No. 24 in the POWERADE FAB 50 -- past then-No. 5 DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) with 37 points and six rebounds at the Spalding Hoophall Classic; all these guys want to know about is his recruitment.

Shabazz Muhammad
J. Anthony Roberts/ESPNHSShabazz Muhammad said the best chance to stop him is to turn him into a 3-point shooter.
Muhammad handles the organized chaos like a champ. His answers are quick and concise. He even has a little fun finding new ways to say the same thing.

But when event staff whisks him away for a private interview, we manage to stump him slightly with, by his own admission, the simplest yet most complex question he’s heard in quite some time: “How do you stop Shabazz Muhammad?”

“That’s a good one,” he said.

Muhammad’s got an answer, but it’s obvious that he doesn’t want to come across as cocky. He hesitates, seemingly by design, smiles and settles on, “Well, my dad [Ron Holmes] and I train so hard on so many different aspects of my game that it’s given me the ability to hurt teams in a lot of different ways. Let’s just say it’d be really hard.”

The next attempt at the improbable takes place Jan. 21 when No. 3 Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) heads over to Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas to take on No. 16 Bishop Gorman at 5 p.m. ET on ESPNU.

“There are guys who are hard to stop, then there’s Shabazz,” Holmes said. “Of course it can be done, but he does so many things well that it’s very difficult to key in on one thing. He’s got the size and strength [6-foot-6, 210 pounds], and that makes it even tougher. Our training is specifically designed to be unstoppable.”

When posed with the question of stopping Muhammad, Findlay Prep swingman Winston Shepard seemed instantly offended. He wore an incredulous frown and then repeated the question while shaking his head and laughing. Then he quickly pointed to the fact that in Findlay's last game against then-No. 1 Simeon (Chicago), Jabari Parker, the top-ranked player in the ESPNU 60, scored 24 points on 22 shots.

“And we won by 25,” said Shepard, a 6-8 senior. “I guarded Jabari. I’m not gonna sit up here and talk junk or anything, but I know Shabazz’s game very well.”

Shepard has been playing with and against Muhammad since the seventh grade. The pair teamed up for Dream Vision AAU.

“Shabazz is a great player, everyone knows that,” Shepard said. “But I’m gonna just come out and play my game. No player is impossible to stop.”

Muhammad’s a realist. Even as the top-ranked senior in the ESPNU 100, he knows that there are flaws in his game, most notably his perimeter jump shot.

“If I had to think of a scenario that gives teams the best shot at stopping me it would be to make me a 3-point shooter,” said Muhammad, who's averaging 30 points and nine rebounds per game this season while shooting 68 percent from the field. “That’s the part of my game that I want to improve the most.”

Don’t write that in the scouting report just yet, though. There are reasons he doesn’t mind revealing that information.

“For one, I just don’t think people can stop me from getting into the lane,” Muhammad said. “It’s how I’m wired, I guess.”

And the whole turn-him-into-a-3-point-marksman suggestion?

“During my workout I have to get 400 makes a day,” Muhammad said. “It usually takes me around 600 shots to do that. I'd say it's getting a lot better.”

Still, as daunting as the task of stopping Muhammad will be, Findlay point guard Dominic Artis doesn’t just think they can get it done -- he knows they can.

“Shabazz is a great player, there’s no doubt about it,” said Artis, a senior who is signed to Oregon. “We’re gonna put Winston on him, and I think that’ll help a lot because he knows his game better than anyone. They’ve got a good team, but if we stop him we’ll have a better chance to win. I mean, anyone can be stopped. As great a player as Shabazz is, I know that we can stop him. Like hold him under double digits. I’m confident in that.”

Good luck with that.

The last team to hold Muhammad under double digits was Bishop Manogue (Reno, Nev.) in the state semifinals last February. In that game, Muhammad, who played with a severely sprained ankle, had just nine points and the Gaels lost by one.

Still, by mid-conversation, Muhammad seems to have fully conceded that stopping him isn’t as farfetched as people think.

Seems odd for a guy who knows he’s the best player every time he steps on the court.

He’s got to know. It’s what makes him who he is.

“His mentality is to be relentless,” Holmes said. “It’s not something you see too often. He’s just a workhorse. You can’t teach the mindset he’s got. You’re born with that relentless mindset.”

That’s why it came as no shock that, just before parting, Muhammad backed off the whole notion of stopping him being a realistic aspiration.

“You know, it’s like, stopping me, I don’t know if I’d say that,” Muhammad said. “I just have the mentality that no one can stop me. I can have a bad game, but stopping me -- nah, I don’t think anyone can stop me because I’m not gonna stop until I’m succeeding. I’m just not gonna stop.”

Relentless mindset indeed.

Jason Jordan is the basketball editor for ESPNHS. He can be reached at jason.x.jordan.-ND@espn.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @JayJayESPN.

Muhammad not feeling mispronunciations

November, 18, 2011
It’s not that Shabazz Muhammad is being difficult or “Hollywood” or even a primo prima donna, he’s merely saying that come springtime he wants the college that receives his signed scholarship to be able to pronounce the name that’s on it.

Fair enough.
Kelly Kline/ESPNHSShabazz Muhammad said that coaches who mispronounce his name surprise him.

“I absolutely can’t stand when people in general pronounce my name wrong,” said Muhammad, the top player in the ESPNU 100. “But when coaches do it, it’s really surprising honestly. Throughout my recruitment it’s happened a lot, but a school that just keeps on doing it, they’re pretty much off the list.”

Most mistakenly pronounce Muhammad’s first name Shuh-BAZZ because of the way it’s spelled, but Shabazz is pronounced Shuh-BOZZ.

“I’m used to it because people mispronounce my name all the time,” said Muhammad, a senior swingman at Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas). “I understand because of the spelling of it so I’ll let it slide if it’s once or twice, but I’ll politely correct them if it goes past that. But coaches recruiting me, I’d think they would get it right. Seems like you’d want to get that right.”

Muhammad’s name pronunciation mishaps are similar to what North Carolina freshman guard P.J. Hairston said he went through when Duke recruited him in high school.

Hairston said that when Coach K and Co. would send him recruitment letters they’d write “T.J. Harrison,” which eventually made him sour on the Blue Devils.

Apparently, they learned from the alleged slip-up because Muhammad said Duke has never mispronounced his name. The same can’t be said for all of the schools – UCLA, Kentucky, Kansas, Texas A&M, Arizona and UNLV – on his list.

The two guilty parties?

Kentucky and Kansas.

“Coach (Bill) Self said it wrong when I went there at Kansas, and I think he realized it pretty quick and changed it to the right pronunciation,” Muhammad said. “Then one of the assistants at Kentucky said it wrong on a visit and Coach (John) Calipari said it the right way real quick. Then the assistant caught on after that.”

Adaptation is the key, and Muhammad appreciates it.

“Most definitely,” he said. “I mean how bad can a school want you if there calling you something you don’t answer to? You’ve got to get stuff like a name right.”

That’s the name of the game.

Jason Jordan is the basketball editor for ESPNHS. He can be reached at jason.x.jordan.-ND@espn.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @JayJayESPN

Shabazz Muhammad, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas)
No. 1 in the ESPNU 100
The consensus No. 1 player in the country, Muhammad boasts a superior skill set that has made him the target of nearly every elite collegiate program with national title aspirations. He is one part smooth-stroking lefty and one part ferocious finisher mixed in with a tireless work ethic and a killer instinct in the clutch. Last year, Muhammad tallied 25.1 points and 7.7 boards a contest to cop ESPNHS All-American first-team honors.

Brandon Ashley, Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.)
No. 4 in the ESPNU 100
Planning on shutting down Ashley? You better come with a Plan B and C because this 6-foot-8 Arizona commit is among the nation’s most versatile scorers. Big men need to be cognizant of his guard skills and handle, while smaller defenders are going to need to hit the weight room to deal with his deceptive strength on the block. Ashley transferred to national power Findlay after averaging 15 points and 10 boards last winter at two-time Cali champ Bishop O’Dowd.

Discuss this matchup on Twitter #espnhsfans.

Meet the other candidates on the player intro page.

Fans choiceESPNHSShabazz Muhammad won his in-state showdown against Brandon Ashley, and now he moves on to face Julius Randle.

Players give top 5 reasons to sign early

November, 9, 2011
There’s a common misconception about the country’s elite high school ballers when it comes to the NCAA’s early signing period, which begins today and runs through Nov. 16.

“Sometimes people think we wait until the spring so we can be the last one to sign,” said Shabazz Muhammad, a senior swingman at Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) and the top player in the ESPNU 100. “That’s definitely not true. Trust me; I’d rather be signing with everyone else this week. I’m definitely not doing this for attention.”

Scott Kurtz/ESPNHSL.J. Rose said signing early gives you more credibility when trying to recruit fellow players.

Muhammad will likely decide and sign in the spring; a mistake to hear some of his fellow ballers tell it.

We caught up with five players and had them dish on the top five reasons why it’s better to sign early.

5. Reduces stress.
Yogi Ferrell, Park Tudor (Greenfield, Ind.), 2012, PG
Signing with: Indiana
“The recruitment process can be one big headache with all of the media interviews and all of the coaches calling and you having to remember to call them back and things like that. When you sign during the early period you sleep better because there’s no stress. That stuff is stressful and it gets to be a lot when people are constantly asking you where you’re going. I definitely know that I’m reducing my stress by signing this week.”

4. Stops the calls from coming.
Rasheed Sulaimon, Strake Jesuit (Houston), 2012, SG
Signing with: Duke
“When you’re open you get so much attention from all of the different media sites wanting to know who your favorites are and what the visit was like that you just went on and what coach you talk to the most. It can be a lot with all of the practices we have and all of the work we have during school. Plus, on top of that, you’ve got all the coaches calling you to try and get you to their school and checking on you to see if you’re still open to their school. But when you sign on the dotted line all of that stops. I guess it’s not as big a story when you already know where you’re going, but when your phones not ringing all the time it gives you more time to work on what you need to work on.”

3. Gives you credibility to actively recruit other players.
L.J. Rose, Westbury Christian (Houston), 2012, PG
Signing with: Baylor
“When you’re committed it’s one thing, but when you sign with a school it shows a higher level of commitment to that school. That only shows the other players that you’re trying to recruit to join you that you’re actually coming to the school. People de-commit all the time so if someone was trying to get me to join them and they were committed but said they were waiting to sign in the late period I would be a little skeptical about that. Maybe they’re looking to see who will jump on them late? To go ahead and sign now lets the players know how serious you are about them joining you. It helps sell your school better.”

2. Gives you time to work on your game.
Marcus Paige, Linn-Mar (Marion, Iowa), 2012, PG
Signing with: North Carolina
“Basically, during the season you’re busy practicing with your team throughout the week and playing games so most of the time any individual work that you do is on the weekends. That’s hard to do when you’re traveling to different schools taking unofficial and official visits every weekend. It leaves you no time to get those individual workouts in to work on the weaker parts of your game, but when you’re signed you can have your weekends to work on everything. Plus, you’ll have the coaches from your future college chiming in on what you need to work on during those weekend workouts. That’s the best part about signing during the early period; it frees you up to work on your game.”

1. Allows you to focus on your season.
Justin Anderson, Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.), 2012, SF
Signing with: Virginia
“When you sign early there is absolutely no pressure on you to perform well enough to land the best scholarship possible. That’s everyone’s goal. So when you’ve already signed you’ve already reached your goal and you can kick back and relax and go into your last season ready to dominate and win. People don’t understand how much pressure deciding on a school is. You can’t honestly say that your main focus is on your season when you haven’t signed yet. That’s why it’s so important to go ahead and get that out of the way before your season starts.”

Jason Jordan is the basketball editor for ESPNHS. He can be reached at jason.x.jordan.-ND@espn.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @JayJayESPN

Quick Shots: Oak Hill's early showdown

October, 28, 2011
Preseason POWERADE FAB 50 No. 3 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) unofficially kicked off the 2011-12 season with a 91-54 victory over Covenant Christian (Loganville, Ga.) on October 21. The Warriors also participated in their annual scrimmages with Fork Union, Massanuttan and Hargrave Military Academies this month. Those schools are not eligible for the FAB 50 rankings.

The Warriors next game on November 1 will take place on the road against Quality Education Academy (Winston-Salem, N.C.). QEA, if you recall, was removed from last year's FAB 50 rankings when head coach Isaac Pitts informed us about fifth-year players on his roster, namely Sir' Dominic Pointer (now at St. John's University), when we called last January to confirm if Sacramento, Calif., native Josiah Turner was indeed enrolled at QEA after leaving Sacramento High mid-season.

At the time, we applauded Pitts for his honesty and if that trait were displayed by every single high school coach we deal with when it comes to player eligibility and team rankings, it would streamline the process of ranking teams and make them more accurate. Pitts stated in writing his current club doesn't carry any post-graduates, so QEA is eligible for the FAB 50 this season. Our ultimate goal is to determine which schools are eligible and for them to remain eligible for the foreseeable future and for ineligible clubs to never return. We want to avoid programs being eligible for the FAB 50 one year and ineligible the next.

Pitts' club is one of a handful of teams itching to break into the FAB 50. QEA has a young club and a player to watch when they do battle next week with Oak Hill is 6-1 PG Jevon Thomas, a Dayton commit. Pitts is also high on 6-9 freshman Ibrabiima Diallo, a native of Dakar, Senegal.

UFCA Could Face Sanctions

According to the Charlotte Observer, FAB 50 No. 30 United Faith Christian Academy (Charlotte, N.C.) might be in hot water with the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association (NCISAA). According to the newspaper, the potential violation of NCISAA rules involves an email sent out by school headmaster Dr. Joe Siragusa in September. The question at hand is whether Siragusa's email violated the NCISAA's statues against the recruitment of potential student-athletes.

If the email is ruled to be a recruiting violation, UFCA would be placed on probation and banned from the playoffs for one year according to the NCISAA handbook. As far as the FAB 50 is concerned, UFCA would remain eligible as long as its current roster was made up of players who would be eligible at other public or private schools in North Carolina. This situation reminds us of the Kyrie Irving-Mike Gilchrist led St. Patrick (Elizabeth, N.J.) team that finished the 2009-10 season ranked No. 7 in the FAB 50. St. Patrick was banned from the New Jersey TOC after the NJSIAA ruled then head coach Kevin Boyle was in violation of its coaching rules involving pre-season workouts.

Findlay Prep schedule finalized

Another team looking to move up in the FAB 50 is Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.). Unlike QEA, the Pilots are already in the rankings, opening up at No. 8. Findlay Prep has a loaded roaster and this week the program announced its loaded 2011-12 schedule. One early season game that will draw plenty of attention from fans and pollsters is the Pilots' December 3 match up in Dallas against No. 5 Marcus (Flower Mound, Texas). Coach Mike Peck's club also has a crucial six-day stretch in January where they'll face No. 1 Simeon (Chicago) and No. 7 Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.).

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

Kings of the contact period

October, 9, 2011
Last Wednesday marked the end of the NCAA’s contact period, which had been in effect since September 9. That meant hundreds of high school hoopers around the country had to sift through all of their visits from college coaches and decide who made the most lasting impressions.

We rounded up a handful of the top players in the country and had them dish on the big winners over the last month.

Coolest customers: Providence

Brannen Greene, Mary Persons (Monroe, Ga.), 2013, SG: “Coach (Ed) Cooley told me he only recruits anacondas and not garden snakes. Very cool guy.”

Best perspective: Texas Christian

Julius Randle
Kelly Kline/ESPNHSJulius Randle was impressed with TCU's "create your own legacy" perspective.
Julius Randle, Prestonwood Christian (Plano, Texas), 2013, F: “TCU gave me a whole different way to look at things. They told me that I could come in and change the program and begin my own legacy. That’s a different perspective than the other schools. A lot of those schools can’t present that to me. Most already have hall of fame players. So definitely TCU on perspective because who wouldn’t want to have their very own legacy.”

Most swag: Kentucky

Chris Walker, Holmes County (Bonifay, Fla.), 2013, F: “The coach with the most swag… I would have to say Coach (John) Calipari and assistant Coach Orlando (Antigua). They came in and everyone was going crazy. Coach Cal is running things and he’s put a lot of players in the NBA. Plus he came in wearing a suit. That’s swag.”

Best sales pitch: Duke

Shabazz Muhammad, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.), 2012, SF: “Coach K (Mike Krzyzewski) definitely has the best sales pitch. He talks a lot about the Duke brand and what he could do for me and how he could develop me and about all of the exposure that I could get at Duke. I think the thing that makes his sales pitch so good is that he’s really speaking from the heart. That’s the best part.”

Most relatable: Louisville

Isaiah Lewis, Christ the King (Middle Village, N.Y.), 2013, SG: “I just had fun getting to know the coaches at Louisville, especially Coach (Wyking) Jones. After my workout he offered me, but that was in the middle of us talking about school, football, what kind of shoes we like. He just seemed like one of the guys. I definitely felt like he was just one of my friends.”

Best gear: Georgetown

Troy Williams, Phoebus (Hampton, Va.), 2013, SF: “Definitely had to be Georgetown because they wear Jordan everything. The shoes were just fresh and the sweat suits they had were cool. I told them I like to ball in Nike's, but I walk around in J's. They had on the new Melo’s (Carmelo Anthony) and they weren’t tied all the way up.”

Jason Jordan is the basketball editor for ESPNHS. He can be reached at jason.x.jordan.-ND@espn.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @JayJayESPN

Seeking last place for No. 1

October, 6, 2011
Shabazz Muhammad will admit this much, that when he got to school Wednesday morning he wondered what schools would show up on the last day of the NCAA’s contact period.

After all, college coaches had been coming to Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.) in droves since the period began on September 9 vying to make lasting impressions on the top-ranked player in the ESPNU 100.

But while nearly every major college coach in the country is dying to be first on Muhammad’s wish list, the coveted slot during the contact period is the last one.

“It makes sense,” said Muhammad, a senior small forward. “I definitely think coaches want to come on the last day on purpose so we’ll keep thinking about their school.”

This year’s last word winners?

Kentucky coach John Calipari and Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski.

“There were definitely a couple students hanging around after school that don’t normally stay after,” Muhammad said. “They’re two of the best coaches and programs so it was good to see them again.”

Calipari and his assistant Orlando Antigua were on the scene first and focused on how Muhammad could flourish in Kentucky’s dribble-drive offense with his athleticism and skill set.

“I liked what Coach Cal had to say,” said Muhammad, who will see Calipari in a week when he attends Kentucky’s Big Blue Madness season kickoff event. “They talked a lot about how they could use me there. It was perfect timing because when Coach Cal was leaving, Coach K was coming.”

Krzyzewski along with associate head coach Steve Wojciechowski and assistant Jeff Capel talked more about branding and exposure.

“They talked about the experience as a whole,” Muhammad said. “Just how it could benefit me to come there. It was a really good talk. They both really showed me how much they wanted me.”

Especially since Muhammad wasn’t even running basketball drills; he was just, well, running.

“Yeah the team was outside doing conditioning drills on the track,” Muhammad said. “Nothing too interesting, but they just stood there and watched me run. Like I said it showed me a lot."

Just not enough to pull the trigger on a commitment. Muhammad is considering “eight or nine” schools total and will likely go the distance with his recruitment.

“I’m just taking my time and hearing everything everyone has to say,” Muhammad said. “I’m gonna wait until the spring more than likely. I had a lot of visitors during this contact period, but yeah the last two schools that came to see me where Kentucky and Duke. That means something to me.”

Jason Jordan is the basketball editor for ESPNHS. He can be reached at jason.x.jordan.-ND@espn.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @JayJayESPN

Muhammad comfortable on top

September, 16, 2011
Muhammad Has The Top Spot | Muhammad Wins MVP At Elite 24

Shabazz Muhammad doesn't mind that fans expect him to live up to the hype of being the top ranked player in the ESPNU 100 every time he steps on the court.

Check out the video to hear how Muhammad adjusts to different situations and still manages to dominate.

Don't forget to follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayESPN

Elite 24 highlight reel

September, 8, 2011

From A-List star power to rim-rocking dunks to sick crossover dribbles the 2011 Boost Mobile Elite 24 had all the makings of an instant classic.

Check out the video to relive some of the exceptional highlights.

Love for Muhammad in Sin City

September, 5, 2011

Ask any high school basketball player and he'll undoubtedly tell you that a major factor in deciding on any college is how passionate its fan base gets.

"You want to go somewhere where the fans get really live and rowdy," said Shabazz Muhammad, a senior small forward at Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.) who is the top ranked player in the ESPNU 100. "That's a big part of it."

If their spirited ploys to keep Muhammad home are any indication, UNLV fans may very well be giving the Rebels a slight advantage.

Check out the video.

Don't forget to follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayESPN

California Karaoke

September, 2, 2011

We caught up with a handful of players at the Boost Mobile Elite 24 and had them dish on their favorite California-themed songs.

The big winner? The late rapper Tupac Shakur.

Believe it or not, pop star Katy Perry even made the cut.

Check it out.