Muhammad draws Pitino's attention

While most of Rick Pitino's attention was devoted to 2011 prospects on the first day of the July evaluation period, the Louisville coach did manage to check out super-stud junior Shabazz Muhammad. After an outstanding offensive display, the No. 1-ranked 2012 small forward told about his strong interest in the Cardinals.

Shabazz Muhammad, rated the No.1 small forward in the Class of 2012, drew considerable attention from Louisville on the opening day of the July evaluation period.

Louisville head coach Rick Pitino and assistants Steve Masiello and Tim Fuller were all courtside Tuesday to watch Muhammad, a 6'6 forward from Las Vegas (NV) Bishop Gorman. The Cardinals weren't the only heavy hitters present, North Carolina coach Roy Williams, Duke's Coach K, Kansas coach Bill Self and UCLA coach Ben Howland also were presented and accounted.

Muhammad didn't disappoint, scoring 30 points in one of the day's most impressive offensive displays.

"I really like Louisville," Muhammad told "I watched them last year and I like the way they play. They're going to be there for me. I really like them. I heard from Coach Pitino and he was talking to me about visiting the campus as soon as possible. But I'm pretty wide open."

Muhammad, a five-star prospect, said he spoke with Pitino last month, the first month college coaches could call 2012 prospects. He listed the Cardinals, along with North Carolina, Duke, Kansas, Texas, UCLA and USC.

"Location doesn't matter," Muhammad said. "I just look at the uptempo game of the coaches and the style of play. I am just looking at style of play and whatever university fits me."

A smooth left-handed scorer, Muhammad's score sheet was dotted with ones, twos and three's. He scored driving to the basket, drew fouls and converted free throws and drained several three's from the perimeter with Pitino looking on attentively. While offense isn't a problem for the talented junior, Muhammad says he's been working to improve other aspects of his well-rounded game.

"Definitely my defense, I've been working on it," Muhammad said. "I've been really trying to work on my guard skills."

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