TOC Player Review Part 3 * Mustafa Shakur

Mustafa Shakur knows how to draw a crowd. The 11:30 TOC Saturday game at Reynolds saw Archie Miller and Julius Hodge sitting at the scorer's table marveling at the display of talent exhibited by the rangy point guard.

At the afternoon session, Jordon Collins, Levi Watkins, and Hodge were watching Shakur. He also dazzled a good crowd of Red and White in attendance. I sat in the old Reynolds medal chairs and observed Mustafa quickly validated the hype that I had spent so much time reading in the last few months.

Shakur convinced me in the first eight minutes of the game when he beat his opponent with three different moves. Jeff Worley (5'8" 155) of the Charlotte Nets, is a small package of dynamite. He is fast, strong and a good player as well. But on this day, he was no match for the Hunting Park guard. The first sign that he would be abused most of the day came when Worley "D" up Shaukur on the left side of the arc. Shakur showed me one of the fastest crossover moves I have see in a while. It left Worley spinning and left me and most of the crowd dazed.

The second sign it would be a long day for Worley came a couple minutes later. After being beaten badly on the crossover, Mustafa faked right and went right, leaving Worley defending air yet again.

I was completely stunned by the third move as was Worley. Shakur stood on the right just outside the arc. Worley "D" up yet again. Mustafa let loose with a spin move and drove right by a frustrated Worley.

The "shake and bake" was great to see, and the speed in which he performed the three moves were astonishing, but there is more to the story. On the other end of these moves was not some acrobatic lay-up but rather a sweet delivering of the ball down low. Once he beat his man, the defense was drawn to Mustafa to try to limit the damage, leaving open the post players who were fed the ball for easy baskets.

Mustafa Shakur is listed at 6'4" and 180 pounds. Quick, fast and swift all seem such inadequate terms in describing his athletic ability. It leaves out the most important part. He has control of that speed and that is what impressed me the most about his play. How many times have you heard of a player that is dubbed to be super quick only to discover that the ball just can't keep up with such a blinding pace? Not the case here, as Shakur is a true finisher.

He also has a shot that is ready for the NBA. He launched 12 tri-fectors in the game against Charlotte, hitting on 7 of them. Seven of those shots were from 22' or more. He also can score down low, as he went 3 for 7 in the paint. For the game, he had 30 points, 4 rebounds, 8 assists with 1 turnover.

He also plays some very tight defense. When he guards a man, his long arms and legs seem to envelope his opponents. He had 5 steals and forced 3 more turnovers. For all that he is on offense, he equals in defensive performance.

Shakur is ranked by The Insiders as the #1 PG for the class of 2003. After seeing Mustafa in person, I can understand why his ranking is so high. He has a presence on the court that demands respect from opponents, teammates and recruiting experts. When the ball is in his hands, you know he is about to make things happen. It is only a matter of how.

After being lured to the Tournament of Champions by the hype of Mustafa Shakur, I left knowing that what has been written about the Philly Phenom is true. He is a commanding player that will make special things happen to the program he chooses and he will draw a crowd in doing so.

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