Muhammad's visit helps Louisville

Shabazz Muhammad, the No. 1 ranked small forward in the Class of 2012, is clearly interested in Louisville. Though Duke, UNC, Xavier and others are also in the picture, it appears the Cardinals now are a strong contender for Muhammad's services after his visit with Rick Pitino's program.

Shabazz Muhammad, the No. 1 ranked small forward in the Class of 2012, is interested in Louisville. That much was clear by the fact that the 6-foot-6 forward flew across country this weekend at his expense to make an unofficial visit to Rick Pitino's program.

Muhammad has no shortage of college options. Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky and many other college basketball heavy's are on the list. After visiting Louisville, the Cardinals appear a strong contender for Muhammad's services.

Shabazz Muhammad said his visit to Louisville "helped" the Cardinals in his recruitment.
"The facilities were unbelievable and Coach Pitino is a great guy," Muhammad said. "That's the kind of stuff I look for in a college. They definitely helped themselves in my recruiting. I'm looking forward to going up there again."

Muhammad packed a lot into his visit. He saw Louisville play Marshall at the new KFC Yum! Center. He watched Rick Pitino conduct a practice session. He hung out with Louisville's players. And he sat down for a conversation with Pitino.

"It was great and I really enjoyed myself there," Muhammad said. "It was a great atmosphere. I loved the facilities and dorms. Coach Pitino and Coach [Tim] Fuller were great guys. And the arena just took my breath away. It was amazing."

One of the main reasons Muhammad wanted to visit Louisville was to get a closer look at how Pitino runs his program.

"I wanted to check out how the coaches act toward the players and how practice goes," Muhammad said. "It went really well. I saw practice and the pre-game [routine]. Coach Pitino does a great job with that stuff and is very organized."

More importantly, Muhammad saw that Louisville plays an uptempo style that could showcase his silky-smooth skills.

"They get up and down, that's the style I like to play," Muhammad said.

Before Louisville's win over Marshall, Muhammad sat down with Rick Pitino for an important conversation. Pitino made clear that Louisville can help Muhammad reach his goals as a basketball player.

"It was really nice talking to Coach Pitino one on one," Muhammad said. "He was talking about how much he needs me and how the Big East produces great guards like myself. It was really important to have a conversation with him one on one and know that I'm interested [in Louisville] and he's interested in me."

Muhammad came away impressed with his first experience in Louisville's sparkling new, 22,000-plus seat arena.

"It was really enjoyable," said Muhammad. "The crowd was really into the game. And even though they played Marshall, I could imagine how [loud] the crowd gets when they play UConn because it's pretty wild."

Muhammad also said he felt comfortable around Louisville's players.

"I hung out with them the whole time," said Muhammad. "That was a good thing to do to see how you'd be living if you went to Louisville. I felt really comfortable around their players. They were really down to earth guys. I liked how the players treated each other. They're like a family there and everybody was really kind to each other. That carries on to the basketball floor and I saw that. It was very important to see that."

Though his focus now will turn to his junior season, Muhammad said he could make another visit to Louisville this season.

"When I go to other schools I'll compare it to Louisville," said Muhammad. "I think I'm going to try to make another visit [to Louisville] this [season]. I'm definitely looking forward to going back there."

Muhammad's father also made the trip to UofL and came away impressed with the Cardinals.

"He thought it was really nice and the atmosphere was really great," Muhammad said. "He thinks the Big East would be a great conference for me. So we're going to sit down and really talk about that."

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