2012 Intro: Shabazz Muhammad

In our travels, we've seen a ton of young players. Shabazz Muhammad, a 2012 small forward, has proven himself to be one of the top young talents in his class both out west and nationally.

In case you haven't noticed, there's a freshman out west making headlines for himself this spring. What we're particularly excited about is Shabazz Muhammad is an elite talent and he's all about winning.

The 6-foot-3 small forward out of Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman, was a freshman on a state championship team this past winter. Last weekend at the Tournament of Champions, his Dream Vision team lost early but won the entire 15-and-under event.

"We weren't focused," Muhammad said. "A lot of guys in the hotel were staying up late. We underestimated them and didn't play hard. We had to focus."

Muhammad, even though he's a young freshman, has that winning gene. Finishing first is important to him and that's a unique intangible that will continue to set him apart from his peers in the coming years. "My coach tells me that we should win three more (state titles). I'm going to keep working hard and get three more rings."

Why so competitive? Muhammad has his father to thank for that trait. His dad played at Southern Cal. "He's a competitor and he's been training me," Muhammad said. "It's in my body."

The bigger question is does his family tie to USC prohibit UCLA from recruiting him? Fair question, right? "Not at all. I like UCLA. I need to take visits and see which one fits me more."

Muhammad has grown up watching two teams: USC and North Carolina. The Tar Heels, Louisville, USC (offer), UNLV, San Diego State, Kansas, Arizona and Arizona State have been in touch with his coach.

"I think a lot of people tell me I play like James Harden because he can shoot and he's a lefty."

When it comes to the Class of 2012, Muhammad's going to be a guy who helps carry to the torch for his guys. He's already distinguished himself as a winner, player and excellent long-term prospect. It's early to talk about rising sophomores, but this young man is going to be a major player on the national scene in the coming years.

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