High-SchoolBoys-Basketball: Shabazz Muhamad

Players predict where Muhammad, Noel will go

April, 9, 2012

Shabazz Muhammad knows that, on the surface, it seems glamorous to have the option of picking between heavyweights like Duke, UCLA, Kentucky, UNLV and Kansas.

Still, he’s quick to point out the flip side.

“The stress,” said Muhammad, a senior swingman at Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) who is ranked No. 2 in the ESPNU 100. “It definitely isn’t as fun as people think. It’s all you think about. It’s a tough decision.”

Nerlens Noel can attest to that.

As the top-ranked player in the ESPNU 100, Noel said it only makes it harder “when you really can’t go wrong wherever you decide to go.”

Both Noel and Muhammad will make their decisions live on Recruiting Nation's Signing Day Special Show at 7:30 p.m. ET April 11 on ESPNU.

“People don’t understand how tough this is,” said Noel, a senior center at Tilton (N.H.) who will choose between Georgetown, Kentucky and Syracuse. “It’s the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make. Everyone thinks they know where we’re going.”

Especially their peers.

We caught up with a bunch of players from around the country and had them weigh in on where they think the top two seniors in the country will land.

Matt Jones
DeSoto (DeSoto, Texas), 2013, SG
Committed to: Duke
Noel’s headed to …
“Kentucky. I played with him last weekend at a tournament and you should’ve seen him watching Louisville play against Kentucky. It was like he could envision himself there.”
Muhammad’s headed to …
“Duke. He sees that he could come in and have the same impact that Austin Rivers did.”

Jabari Parker
Simeon (Chicago), 2013, SF
Noel’s headed to …
“Boston College. [Laughs] Just kidding, Georgetown.”
Muhammad’s headed to …
“UC Santa Barbara. [Laughs] Just kidding, UCLA.”

Mitch McGary
Brewster Academy (Wolfeboro, N.H.), 2012, F
Signed to: Michigan
Noel’s headed to …
“Kentucky. Great recruiting class coming in and they just won the national title so that’s got to appeal to him.”
Muhammad’s headed to …
“Kentucky. Same reasons as Nerlens.”

Isaiah Lewis
Christ the King (Middle Village, N.Y.), 2013, SG
Noel’s headed to …
“Kentucky. He’s a one-and-done type and that’s where you go for that.”
Muhammad’s headed to …
“UCLA. I think he and Kyle Anderson are gonna do work.”

Rasheed Sulaimon
Strake Jesuit (Houston), 2012, SG
Signed to: Duke
Noel’s headed to …
“Kentucky. He’s the second coming of Anthony Davis. He’s tall with very long arms that he uses to impact the game on the defensive end and rebound.”
Muhammad’s headed to …
“Duke. I really believe that Shabazz is gonna join me next year because he’s a competitor and wants to win. Coach K is the ultimate competitor and does great with guards like Shabazz. I believe we can do a lot of damage right away.”

Rodney Purvis
Upper Room Christian Academy (Raleigh, N.C.), 2012, SG
Signed to: N.C. State
Noel’s headed to …
“Kentucky. That’s just my gut.”
Muhammad’s headed to …
“Kentucky. That’s just my gut feeling on him too.”

L.J. Rose
Westbury Christian (Houston), 2012, PG
Signed to: Baylor
Noel’s headed to …
“Kentucky. He’s gonna be compared to Anthony Davis and have that type of impact.”
Muhammad’s headed to …
“Kentucky. They’re just coming off a national title run and Rupp Arena will definitely be rocking next year with him there.”

Chris Walker
Holmes County (Bonifay, Fla.), 2013, F
Noel’s headed to …
“Kentucky. He saw what Coach Cal did for Anthony Davis and he’ll feel like he can do the same for him. He’ll be one-and-done just like him.”
Muhammad’s headed to …
“UCLA. It’s the perfect fit with it being close to home and then he’ll have a great guard like Kyle Anderson there with him.”

Kris Jenkins
Gonzaga College (Washington, D.C.), 2013, F
Noel’s headed to …
“Georgetown. That’s where all the big men go to develop.”
Muhammad’s headed to …
“Kentucky. He thinks Coach Cal can help him reach his goal of the NBA faster.”

Brannen Greene
Mary Persons (Monroe, Ga.), 2013, SG
Committed to: Kansas
Noel’s headed to …
“Kentucky. He sees the impact that Anthony Davis had this year and probably wants to do the same.”
Muhammad’s headed to …
“Kentucky. I think he wants to be one-and-done and he sees Kentucky as the perfect school for that.”

Wayne Selden
Tilton (N.H.), 2014, SG
Noel’s headed to …
“Kentucky. He’d fit right in and replace Anthony Davis.”
Muhammad’s headed to …
“UCLA. I think he and Kyle Anderson would be a force in the Pac-12.”

Jahlil Okafor
Whitney Young (Chicago), 2014, F
Noel’s headed to …
“Kentucky. He’ll replace Anthony Davis.”
Muhammad’s headed to …
“UCLA. He’ll team up with Kyle Anderson.”

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: City of Palms Classic

December, 21, 2011
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Prestonwood Christian’s (Plano, Texas) 62-42 romping of Grace Prep (Arlington, Texas) Wednesday night at Bishop Verot High School here ended the City of Palms Classic. It gave Texas its first-ever City of Palms title.

Here are some notes on what went on behind the scenes all week.

Midnight Run

Early Monday morning, just after midnight, two days after Miller Grove (Lithonia, Ga.) dropped its second-straight game, this time a 59-55 loss to Riverside Academy (Reserve, La.), Wolverines forward Brandon Morris was out in the parking lot of his hotel running suicides prepping for their next game.

Morris ran for more than 30 minutes and walked into the lobby drenched with sweat.

“We’ve got to work harder,” Morris said. “That’s something that I want to get better with.”

Tony Parker
Kelly Kline/ESPNHSTony Parker and Miller Grove will try and put their three losses at the City of Palms Classic behind them.
Low Bridge

Given most of the capacity crowd at the City of Palms came to see Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) swingman Shabazz Muhammad, the top-ranked player in the ESPNU 100, but Wilbraham Monson (Wilbraham, Mass.) center Mark Overdevest was easily the second most popular player in attendance. But it had nothing to do with his play on the court.

Overdevest is 7-foot-3, which meant he had to duck down every time he walked into the gym. That was fascinating to spectators.

Overdevest, who is unranked, took more pictures and signed more autographs than most of the top players.

“It’s something you’ve got to remember,” Overdevest said of ducking down before walking into the gym. “It takes some getting used to.”

Big Winners

Fort Myers (Fort Myers, Fla.) marksmen Garrison Free took home the City of Palms three-point contest title, knocking down 20 treys in the semifinals and 17 in the finals.

Grace Prep (Arlington, Texas) guard Je'lon Hornbeak won the dunk contest.

Stress-Free Balling

Roughly a week before he made the cross-country trip to the City of Palms, Salesian (Richmond, Calif.) forward Freddie Tagaloa, who doubles as an offensive tackle on the Pride’s football team, ended his recruitment picking California over Stanford, Southern Cal and Oregon.

“It was a load off,” Tagaloa said. “I definitely came here with no worries and I didn’t have to think about college anymore. It definitely allowed me to relax a lot more.”

Tagaloa averaged five points and five rebounds at the City of Palms.

No Need To Panic

Miller Grove isn’t worried one bit about its four-game skid, which included losses to POWERADE FAB 50 No. 3 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.), No. 34 Riverside Academy (Reserve, La.), No. 6 Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) and Lake Wales (Lake Wales, Fla.).

The Wolverines opened the season ranked No. 2, but the four losses will inevitably drop them in next week’s poll.

“We’re not dwelling on that at all,” Miller Grove coach Sharman White said. “We’ve got to focus on what’s in front of us. We’ll learn from it and get better. We’ve got probably the toughest schedule in the country, and we’ll have opportunities to get back to where we want to be.”

The Wolverines, who have won three-straight state titles, still have big games against St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.) and top-ranked Simeon (Chicago).

Out Of Commission

Montverde (Montverde, Fla.) guard Kasey Hill had to watch the Eagles first two games at the City of Palms from the bench after being suspended by the Florida High School Athletic Association for receiving two technical fouls and getting ejected from Montverde’s 64-50 win over Olympia on Dec. 10.

The two-game suspension is the minimum penalty for an ejection under FHSAA rules.

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