Shakur and his AAU coach speak about commitment

Cattracks had a chance to speak with Arizona's newest Wildcat, Mustafa Shakur, and his AAU coach, Greg Wright, shortly after Shakur announced his intentions to play at Arizona next season. Below is the transcript from each of the brief interviews. For more with Mustafa, listen to "Cat Tracks on the Air" Wednesday night from 6-8 pm. He is one of the featured guests.

Mustafa Shakur

Cat Tracks: Hey, congratulations, Mustafa.
Mustafa Shakur: "Thanks a lot."

CT: So what did you do special for you announcement this afternoon? I know some other guys like to bring a couple baseball hats with them and then wear the one of the school they chose. What did you do?
Shakur: "I didn't really do anything like that. I thanked a lot of people and said some things and then I just said, ‘I'm going to play at Arizona'."

CT: How long had you known that Arizona was the school for you, was it just recently or did you know for awhile now?
Shakur: "I knew I wanted to go to Arizona all along but I felt like I needed to take my visit to North Carolina State because I told Coach (Herb) Sendek that I would. But I always wanted to go to Arizona."

CT: You had made up your mind when, after your visit to Arizona?
Shakur: "Yeah. I had a great time there. I liked all of the guys, the coaches, and the campus. Everyone made me feel really good."

CT: How did you like playing with some of the guys while you were down here on your visit?
Shakur: "It was cool. There are some really explosive guys like Hassan (Adams) and Andre (Iguodala) and they are really good. I like Jason Gardner a lot, too. He was real nice while I was there."

CT: Describe your game for some of the Arizona fans that might not have ever seen you play.
Shakur: "I like to get my teammates involved but I can score, rebound and play defense, too. I try to be an all-around player."

CT: What was the deciding factor in choosing Arizona, was it the guard tradition or was it a chance to play for a Hall of Fame coach in Lute Olson?
Shakur: "It was both of those things and more. I really like how at Arizona the guards are featured and the style of play they have. It works out well because it can help me with some of my future goals (of getting to the NBA)."

CT: It's been said that you compare your game to Mike Bibby. How nice is it that you can now play at the same school he played at under the same coach?
Shakur: "Well, I never compare myself to anyone in the NBA, but I probably told you that he was the guy I liked the most in the NBA. I hope I get a chance to meet him if he comes down while I'm there so he can show me some tips to help me become a better player."

Greg Wright

CT: How was the announcement, everything go all right?
Greg Wright: "It was good. He never blinked. He looked right in the camera and right into everyone's eyes and said, ‘Arizona'. He talked about being ready to get the recruiting process behind him and that it had gone on for too long. He said the process was pretty much what he expected it would be but now he wants to get on with his life and with school."

CT: Was it a surprise to you that he chose Arizona? I know from when we had talked before you seemed pretty certain that it would wind up being Arizona anyway.
Coach Wright: "No, it wasn't a surprise at all. He had mentioned that Arizona was on his mind even before he got home from his visit there. He had his mind made up after he got back but he wanted to fulfill his commitment and go to NC State. When he made his announcement he said that Arizona was where he wanted to go from the beginning."

CT: There has been a lot of talk about how NC State was the better place for him if he wanted to be more assured of playing right away during his first year. At Arizona that's not going to be promised to him because of all the high quality guards that are already in the program. How did Mustafa feel about that?
Coach Wright: "He knows that it will be excellent competition and that's perfect because Mustafa is a very competitive person. Having all of the other guards didn't matter at all. He's not looking for anyone to give him anything, he just wants to earn the time he gets and he will. He is a very confident person and he's looking forward to the competition he'll face in practice at Arizona."


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