Shabazz Muhammad, Nation’s Top College Hoops Recruit, Picks UCLA [Video]
Shabazz Muhammad, Rival.com’s top prospect in the 2012 class, gave UCLA’s suffering basketball fans a reason to celebrate Wednesday night. Muhammed chose the Bruins over Duke and Kentucky.
“Just making the decision was really difficult,” said Shabazz, who made his college decision announcement on ESPNU. “It’s a lot of jitters going through my mind. I thought how comfortable I was with the coach (Ben Howland). I chose to be a Bruin, so I’ll be at UCLA next year. I just think it’s a challenge, knowing how bad they were the last two years. It’s a challenge to get them back up to the top.”
The Bruins already had commitments from incoming blue-chip prospects Kyle Anderson and Jordan Adams, which Muhammad said influenced his decision.
Muhammad also threw in a pitch to 6-9 post player Tony Parker of Georgia, who has yet to choose a school, to help lift UCLA from last season’s 19-14 finish.
Muhammad, a 6-6 small forward for Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas), averaged 30 points, 10 rebounds and 2 assists while leading his team to its third high school state championship in four years this season.
In addition to winning the Morgan Wootten Award and Naismith Award as the nation’s top high school player, Muhammad was also named the Most Valuable Player at the 2012 McDonald’s All-American Game, scoring 21 points.
Check out some of Shabazz’s highlights from that game in the video below:
UCLA coach Ben Howland voiced his excitement over landing Shabazz:
“I think he’s going to have a tremendous impact,” Howland said in a conference call late Wednesday after receiving Muhammad’s signed letter of intent. “He’s a special, special talent and has so many attributes that will help our team. He’s physically strong enough right now to be an impact player right away. He’s a great shooter, scorer, very good foul shooter and rebounder. And he’s a winner.”
Howland then referenced Muhammad’s three Nevada state championships and said he is the third national player of the year he has had with the Bruins, joining Kevin Love and Jrue Holiday.
“You look at the impact that those players had and they were huge,” Howland said. “Shabazz will undoubtedly have a very impactful season as a freshman.”
Shabazz Muhammad announces his commitment to the UCLA Bruins in the clip below: