College Basketball Recruiting

Shabazz Muhammad: Tracking Latest Talk Around Duke, Kentucky and More

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 28:  MVP Shabazz Muhammad #15 of the West team moves with the ball 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
Zachary D. RymerMLB Lead WriterApril 10, 2012

We're going to find out very soon where top hoops recruit Shabazz Muhammad is going to be playing his college ball.

Update: Wednesday, April 11 at 7:30 p.m. ET

It looks like Mr. Muhammad will be adding a bit of Shabazz to UCLA. Matt Jones of Kentucky Sports Radio first broke the news.

It is UCLA for Shabazz

— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) April 11, 2012

CBS Sports' Jeff Borzello add legitimacy to this report with the following tweet.

Shabazz Muhammad has informed all the coaches involved that he will be committing to UCLA.

— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) April 11, 2012

Get excited Bruins fans. You just landed a true stud.  

Muhammad is scheduled to announce his decision on Wednesday evening during a "Signing Day Special" on ESPNU. B/R's Eric Bowman has all the necessary viewing information if you want to see Muhammad announce his decision in real time.

What we know for sure is that Muhammad is going to be choosing from three schools: Duke, Kentucky and UCLA. Muhammad has considered several different schools during his recruiting process, but Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports has it on good authority that it's down to those three finalists.

Of Muhammad's final three options, the general consensus is that Duke is the least likely landing spot for his talents. However, Rivals.com recruiting analyst Eric Bossi wrote on Monday that Duke has "always been a stronger option than some have given them credit for."

For what it's worth, several of Muhammad's peers think he could be headed to Duke. Jason Jordan of ESPN.com asked several noteworthy high school players where they think Muhammad is going to end up, and two of them think he's cut out to be a Blue Devil.

“Duke. He sees that he could come in and have the same impact that Austin Rivers did," said Matt Jones, a shooting guard out of DeSoto, Texas.

Rasheed Sulaimon, a shooting guard out of Houston, had this to say:

Duke. I really believe that Shabazz is gonna join me next year because he’s a competitor and wants to win. Coach K is the ultimate competitor and does great with guards like Shabazz. I believe we can do a lot of damage right away.

For the record, both Jones and Sulaimon are committed to Duke, so you have to take their opinions for what they're worth.

The perception is that UCLA is the favorite to land Muhammad's talents. In fact, Jerry Meyer, an analyst for Rivals.com, reported last week that Muhammad has already settled on UCLA:

Hearing from a couple reliable sources that Shabazz Muhammad will end up at UCLA.

— Jerry Meyer (@3starmeyer) April 4, 2012

This doesn't mean Muhammad will end up at UCLA, of course. When Spears published his report on Muhammad a few days after Meyer's tweet, he noted that Muhammad thinks very highly of Kentucky.

“Kentucky is up there,” said Muhammad. “How can you not be attracted to Kentucky? They are run-and-gun."

The appeal of going to Kentucky is that it will give Muhammad a chance to be John Calipari's next one-and-done prodigy. At least one of Muhammad's peers thinks that's why he will ultimately choose to go to Kentucky.

"I think he wants to be one-and-done and he sees Kentucky as the perfect school for that," said Brannen Greene, a shooting guard out of Monroe, Georgia who is committed to Kansas.

Spears noted that Muhammad would have given serious thought to heading to the NBA directly out of high school if that was an option. Spears also noted that there's at least one scout who thinks Muhammad is ready for the NBA right now.

“Shabazz is by far the best player here,” one Western Conference scout said of Muhammad. “It’s not even close. He’s the only one who can play in the NBA tomorrow.”

There's no arguing that the NBA is in Muhammad's future. But as you can tell, exactly which school he's going to go through to get to the NBA varies depending on who you ask.

For what it's worth, a panel of seven ESPN experts sounded off on Tuesday about where they think Muhammad will end up.

Four of them think Muhammad is headed to UCLA. The other three think he's headed to Kentucky.

We'll find out soon enough. Muhammad's decision will come tomorrow. From now until then, everything you're going to hear is just talk, and nothing more.

 

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