Shabazz Muhammad: Why Kyle Anderson, Not Muhmmad, Is Real Recruit to Drool Over

Bob BajekAnalyst IIIApril 6, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 28:  Kyle Anderson #5 of the East team brings the ball up the court during the 2012 McDonald's All American Game at United Center on March 28, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

While Shabazz Muhammad has been getting all the attention by scouts, reporters and college basketball fans, the real recruit worth drooling over is UCLA's Kyle Anderson.

The 6'8", 225-pound Anderson is ranked the No. 5 recruit by ESPNU 100, a ranking that's well earned. Anderson is a small forward who could play all perimeter positions very well, and seems to excel as a point forward.

While Muhammad is being compared as a cross between Kobe Bryant and James Harden, Anderson's abilities have made scouts compare him to Los Angeles Lakers superstar Magic Johnson. While Bryant and Harden are great players, Johnson is one of the top five players to ever play in the NBA.

Anderson has a great mid-range jumper from up to 17 feet out and is a strong finisher in the lane through contact.

Anderson has led his St. Anthony High School (Fairview, N.J.) team to the 2011 High School National Championship and had an undefeated 32-0 record this year. Anderson averaged 17 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and five steals as a small forward for the Friars.

His junior and senior years were so impressive that Anderson was named to the McDonald's All-American East Team and is preparing to play in the Jordan Brand Classic Game.

The UCLA-bound Anderson made a killing at the McDonald's All-American Game. Outside of Muhammad's MVP performance, Anderson was the most impressive player on the floor with 13 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and four steals.

Not only did Anderson play well, he showcased how crisp and fluid his passing and on-the-ball/off-the-ball movement is.

Even though Anderson wasn't the most athletic guy on the court (he missed a couple showboat dunks), he was able to keep up with the other All-Americans because he knows fundamentals well like NBA legend Larry Bird did.

For the McDonald's All-American Game feature, Anderson was introduced by Miami Heat small forward LeBron James in this video. Anderson later in the video relates what Kevin Durant said to him in a message:

"Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard," Anderson said in the video. "That reflects to everything to the basketball court, the workplace, school and the home. Character is what you do when no one is watching. Be on your best game off the court and on the court."

St. Anthony Hall of Fame basketball coach Bob Hurley Sr. said Anderson is the best all-around player in the nation who focuses on the concept of team. That's quiet a compliment as Bobby Hurley Jr., Terry Dehere and Rodrick Rhodes all became first-round picks in the NBA draft.

Muhammad is the top recruit talent-wise and is a great scorer, but the small forward still has to work on his jumper, is too left-hand dominant with dribbling and needs to create better for his teammates.

The 6'6", 215-pound Muhammad is most likely a one-and-done NBA prospect who will not stay in college. He also has a possible recruitment issue for allegedly improper financial dealings from Muhammad's college visits and summer team receiving funds.

For Anderson, he doesn't have any known recruitment problems. While Anderson is most likely a future NBA prospect, he probably will stay in college for a few years as he needs to build more strength, improve his on-the-ball and low post defense.

The Bruins will get a dynamic player in Anderson, who could compete for Pac-12 Freshman of the Year. Anderson is a hard worker who is humble and immensely talented.

If versatility, hard work and a team-first mentality are what college basketball fans are looking for, they need to look no further than Kyle Anderson as he will lead UCLA back to prominence.


Bob Bajek is a Chicago Bulls/NBA Featured Columnist. He has covered the McDonald's All-American Game onsite in Chicago. He is a freelance reporter and can be followed on and Twitter.