College Basketball Recruiting: Where's Shabazz Muhammad Most Likely to End Up?

Drew LaskeyCorrespondent ISeptember 5, 2011 ranks 6'5", 207-pound Shabazz Muhammad as the top prospect in the 2012 class.

And for good reason.

Muhammad is an elite scorer and is a game-changer on both ends of the floor.  He's most recognized for his constant "attack mode" mentality, and it isn't out of the ordinary for him to post smaller players up on the block.

Although his shooting touch isn't as consistent as most collegiate coaches would like, he has very little difficulty scoring the basketball and can be counted on to make big plays down the stretch.  Without question, Muhammad will make an immediate impact wherever he ends up.  

The real question is, where exactly will that be?

Muhammad lists eight schools as his prospective destinations: Arizona, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Memphis, Texas A&M, UCLA and UNLV .  He's on record saying he won't make a decision until the spring, and even though there isn't a clear favorite as of right now, there are three that I think are equally ahead of the rest.  

The first of which is Duke.  Muhammad speaks very highly of Duke and its coaching staff, as well as the "brand" that comes along with playing there.  Duke is consistently one of the top programs in the country and Kyrie Irving and Austin Rivers, who were both top-ranked guards in their classes respectively, fit perfectly into Duke's system.

The same would likely hold true for Muhammad, too.  

Although Muhammad isn't nearly the shooter that Austin Rivers is, he's just as much of a scorer that Irving was.  Both of those players proved one thing: If you can score, you will be well at home with Duke.  And Muhammad can flat-out score.

Another school that is likely to land Muhammad is Kentucky.  Whether it's being the all-time winningest program, achieving three consecutive No. 1-ranked recruiting classes, or having a coach who is simply the best in the country at creating NBA-ready players, Kentucky has recently been a hot destination for top-tier talent.

This year probably won't be any different.

Muhammad has said the biggest reason he's waiting until the spring to commit is to make sure he ends up at the right school—he's not going to transfer or switch his commitment once his mind is made up.  

But one could also assume that he's waiting that long to see who from this year's recruiting class sticks around at UK, along with the rest of the roster.

Pending the departures of Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Terrence Jones after this season, Muhammad would immediately be the go-to guy if he picks UK.  

However, UK has yet to seal a commitment from the 2012 class, and they lost arguably their second-highest target, Brandon Ashley, to Arizona.  So if UK loses the players to the draft we assume they will, as it stands, Muhammad won't have as much help as he'd like to put him in the position to "win, and win a national championship," which he's said is going to be a huge factor in his decision.

But, as with most things in life, only time will tell.

The last school that I think has the best chance to get a commitment from Muhammad is UCLA.  Muhammad is a west coast guy from Las Vegas, Nevada.  And although he lists UNLV as one of his schools of interest, I don't believe they have enough firepower to get a player of Muhammad's caliber.  

As for UCLA, their program is definitely on the better end of their recent-year struggles.  In 2010, they brought in the 16th-best recruiting class and this year will feature two former McDonald's All-Americans and North Carolina transfers David and Travis Wear—7-foot twins.

UCLA went 23-11 last year (13-5 in the Pac-12), and although they had an early first-round exit from last year's NCAA Tournament, this program is oozing with potential.  

Potential that just may be enough to make Muhammad a Bruin.

Those are the schools I think Muhammad will be deciding between at the end of the day. Wherever Muhammad ends up, that school will be in very good hands.  He will likely be another proverbial one-and-doner, but the year(s) that he does play collegiate basketball will definitely be one(s) to watch. 

Like I said, this is just my humble opinion.  And in the infamous words of Charles Barkley, "I may be wrong, but I doubt it."