K Making A Play For Vegas Standout

While much of the recruiting focus has centered around the class of 2011, there are targets emerging in the rising crop of juniors. Especially on the wing. One of the top targets for the Blue Devils in this area is Las Vegas' Shabazz Muhammad who provided TDD an update on his recruitment over the weekend.

"Right now I'm just focusing on the summer and improving my skill set overall," said Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman standout Shabazz Muhammad. "I'm not really looking at the recruiting process as much. I have several offers, but everyone is on the same level at this point as far as [recruiting] goes."

So far in the recruiting game schools such as Louisville, UCLA, USC, Arizona, Kansas, and Texas are among those schools to step up and offer the sophomore a full ride. He's also been in contact with defending National Champion Duke, and the previous winner, North Carolina. Neither of which have offered him a scholarship, though each appears to have a different approach.

"Both of them are recruiting me. With Roy Williams, he's not really talking to me a ton. He said to just keep playing and he would talk to me as a junior and senior. He said to keep doing what I'm doing."

"With Duke, they are a little more hands on right now. I talked to Coach Wojo the other day and I've already visited them. I've also talked to Coach K a bunch. He is a really impressive guy. The first time I met him I came away thinking he's just a really intelligent man. He just sees the game at such a high level. He lets his guards really play the game the right way, and you can just sense how much he loves what he's doing."

Muhammad, who measures out at 6'5 and 185 pounds has played everything from power forward to lead guard over the last year or so for his high school and AAU teams. However, at the collegiate level he sees himself on the wing primarily, which is how a number of schools see him as well. In the case of the Blue Devils, it appears that Krzyzewski and company are selling the idea of the Duke guard system.

"Their guards always have the ball in their hands. They have a lot of freedom and can dictate the game. Coach K and Coach Wojo have told me to really work on my jumpshot and the other parts of my game. They run a good system for guards and just let them play the game. They are also talking to be a little bit about the tradition of the program and the overall consistency. They don't have bad years like most other schools have."

Muhammad got a first hand look at the tradition, consistency, and the overall look of the Duke program when he traveled to Durham in March for a front row seat for the latest round of the Duke-North Carolina rivalry in which the Blue Devils blew out the Tar Heels by 32.

"I had a lot of fun on that visit. It was probably the most memorable moment of the recruiting process so far. Duke really does have a lot of tradition and they always play hard. They keep coming at you. I liked the campus, and the fans were just crazy. It was a real homecourt advantage. I could see myself there especially with the style of play. It had a home-like feel."

Despite his early impressions of the various programs, Muhammad admits he's not looking for any type of decision any time soon. Perhaps he'll cut his list down this summer, but that's a long way off. In the meantime he's scheduled to visit a number of camps and a handful of events over the summer including the Tournament of Champions over Memorial Day weekend in which he hopes to re-visit Duke and North Carolina on his "off days", but the main focus is to be seen and to showcase.

"My goal is definitely to be ranked number one. I need to continually improve and that's a goal I've set. I need to continue to build my basketball I.Q. as much as I need to work on my skills. The best players can do a lot of things, but they all seem to see the game a play or two ahead. Right now I'm really trying to study and pick that up. Most of them can also play defense at a really high level. That can set you apart, so I've been concentrating on that as well."

Muhammad is rated as a five star player in the early rankings for the class of 2012. He is considered the nation's third best small forward and seventh overall prospect according to Scout.


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