Shabazz Muhammad: Newest UCLA Bruin Won't Take Long to Live Up to the Hype

Eric BowmanFeatured ColumnistApril 13, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 28: Shabazz Muhammad of the West team poses with the MVP trophy following 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

Shabazz Muhammad continues to receive high praise for his basketball talents, and much will be expected of him during his freshman campaign with the UCLA Bruins next year.

However, the skilled 6'6", 215-pound small forward has all the tools to live up to the hype. He'll make sure he starts off his collegiate career with a bang, letting the world know that he's the real deal.

The Bruins are incredibly lucky Muhammad called their name on the Wednesday night ESNPU special signing day show. During that announcement, you could see how poised and polished Muhammad is, which is another indication he was born to be a star in the hoops world.

Ranked No. 1 overall by Rivals and No. 2 overall by ESPN and, everyone is anticipating Muhammad to be the next big star. After dominating on the court at Bishop Gorman High School and winning the 2012 Naismith Boys High School Player of the Year, the perception is that Muhammad will be elite rather quickly.

In several months, we'll all get to witness that perception turn into reality as Muhammad takes the court of the Bruins and shines bright.  

He could have gone to Kentucky to share the spotlight with Nerlens Noel, the only other recruit rated higher than him, but Muhammad chose to play for UCLA where all eyes will be solely on him.  He will now be the face of the program, which is huge because the Bruins needed some good publicity for a change. 

In addition to thriving for his high school, Muhammad has also been turning heads at special tournaments and events. He tore it up at the 2012 McDonald's All-American Game, as well as the 2012 Nike Hoop Summit in Oregon this past weekend. 

In a report by Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, one NBA scout in attendance at the Hoop Summit had very kind words to say about Muhammad. 

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

Muhammad has what it takes to cruise through college basketball next year, and with lesser talent out west in the Pac-12, the highly touted recruit will have no trouble performing at the highest of levels week after week. 




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