I saw LeBron James in high school. I saw Kyrie Irving in high school. I've literally seen a who's who of high school superstars come through high school basketball in the last ten years.
Never before has someone like Bishop Gorman High School's Shabazz Muhammad become such eye raising talent so fast. Duke University's top target in 2012 is the man I've dubbed "Badd Shabazz."
At 6'5, Muhammad has shown the ability to handle the ball, shoot the ball, and most importantly, defend the ball. He's a lock to excel in Coach Mike Krzyzewski's offensive system if indeed he commits to the Blue Devils.
Despite being from Las Vegas, Nev., Muhammad is no gamble. Scout.com says Arizona, Arizona State, Duke, Kansas, Louisville, Memphis, North Carolina (Chapel Hill), Texas, UCLA, and USC are all vying for his services before he heads to the National Basketball Association.
Muhammad comes from an incredible athletic pedigree. Sister Asia plays professional tennis; an uncle, Stephone Paige, wore No. 83 for the Kansas City Chiefs for ten seasons; his father, formerly known as Ron Holmes, played college basketball at the University of Southern California; and to top that off, his mother, the former Faye Paige is a Hall of Famer at Long Beach State for running track.
The toughness of his uncle, hoops skills of his dad, speed of his mom, and smarts of his sister make Shabazz Muhammad the perfect player for Duke University.
Shabazz Muhammad is an incredible athlete on the court, as the video above shows, Muhammad possesses an all-around game that has room to grow. His skill-set is unparalleled at his age.
As the best player in the class of 2012, Muhammad has pressure on his shoulders but handles it very well. He's said that having a family full of athletes is a major help in helping him prepare for the next stage he walks on to.
With Muhammad playing the shooting guard position in high school, he's focused a lot upon shooting the ball. His passing ability will grow, especially if he ends up in a system like Duke's.
Louisville was the first school to recruit Muhammad. Rick Pitino's style of play is perfectly suited for Muhammad's style of play.
The difference between Duke and Louisville is the winning record and successful climate that comes from the Triangle's most successful basketball program, Duke. The Blue Devils are a program that produces successful shooting guards and shooting forwards.
Shane Battier, Kyle Singler, Gerald Henderson, all successful players at the college and professional levels respectively. Muhammad's style of play is a hybrid of those three.
This recruiting battle over Muhammad between Louisville and Duke will be similar to current Duke guard Nolan Smith. Louisville began recruiting Smith early because his father, the late Derek Smith attended Louisville.
Muhammad's been recruited by Louisville for almost two years now. In the end, Smith chose Duke University because it was most comfortable to him. Smith saw the success record Krzyzewski has with guards, Muhammad should recognize the same pattern.
The culture of winning at Duke, and Krzyzewski have built a reputation that surely beats the scandals and average on court-work of Louisville and Rick Pitino.
Shabazz Muhammad is a star waiting for that big light of college hoops to help him explode onto the scene. His skill-level at this age is remarkable.
When Muhammad makes his college choice, he's going to factor in how comfortable he is in the style of play on court and how the atmosphere of the school treats him off the court. He'll also look at how the school is viewed outside of the bubble.
If he's going to move across country, he'll want to be 100% comfortable in every aspect of his life.
Based upon what I know about Duke University, the school, the students, the coaching staff, and the fans of Duke all across the country will make him as comfortable as possible.
When "Badd Shabazz" dunks on someone, and the Cameron Crazies explode, he'll know he's made the right choice.