Does Alex Poythress Signing with Kentucky Mean They Lose Shabazz Muhammad?

Ro ShiellAnalyst INovember 11, 2011

It’s mostly a guessing game trying to figure out which school a recruit may be leaning towards most, but it can be fun.

Muhammad recently told Jason Jordan that it’s a big advantage being ranked high because he is able to wait and choose a school carefully without fear of losing a place.

I think it's also good to see where other recruits sign because it would be really tough if a player thought he was going to get huge playing time then the same school signs a higher ranking recruit at the same position. Not that Muhammad has to worry about that.

Kentucky, one of the finalists on Muhammad's list, recently signed ESPN’s No. 17 recruit, Alex Poythress. Shooting guard Archie Goodwin the ESPN No. 13 recruit is also committed.

Those two guys play on the wing just like Muhammad.

Usually Kentucky, during John Calipari’s time, brings in several top recruits and then there is a huge exodus to the NBA after the first season.

Except when Terrence Jones came back for his sophomore season to improve his draft stock. This made Kentucky a much better team, but there are ramifications.

Maybe the impending NBA lockout was a huge factor, but several other top prospects went back to school as well. Kentucky has four 5-Star rated freshmen this season. These are typically one and done players. But with such a loaded draft, one or two may be back next year.

The ricochet effect of other players like Jared Sullinger, Perry Jones and Harrison Barnes going back to school is that players that would normally be one and done will more than likely stick around for their sophomore season to get a higher draft position. Either that or the next draft will be really loaded.

The higher players are drafted the longer their NBA careers are likely to be. There are only 14 lottery places available and that diminishes when you factor in international players. If players such as Doron Lamb and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist are still around, Muhammad could see them as competition even though Calipari has a history of dividing playing time adequately.

Daniel Orton got drafted after his freshman (albeit at the latter part of the first round) season as a backup forward averaging 3.3 points and 3.3 rebounds.

That’s why Muhammad revealed "Watching these college games is really going to be an important thing for me." He wants to know that he will be going into a great situation. It’s not good if he feels he might be looking over his shoulder at other bench players.

Take Josiah Turner for example. He went to Arizona as a highly ranked recruit but recently got benched for Jordin Mayes in only the second game of the season. He was far too easily replaced from a players perspective. “Sometimes people think we wait until the spring so we can be the last one to sign,” said the 6’6” Muhammad. “That’s definitely not true. Trust me; I’d rather be signing with everyone else this week. I’m definitely not doing this for attention.”

There is an advantage to being the last one to sign. It keeps media interest and ultimately increases a recruit’s profile. The only downer is being over-hyped. Fans never like it when a recruit drags out their decision, especially if they get jilted in the end and the player turns out to be overrated.

I tend to agree with Muhammad that if he can afford to wait, he should take his time with this decision. It will mean that every coach, fan and alumni will continue to recruit him. If he can handle that stress, it will only make him stronger as an individual and a player.

Other schools on the No. 1 ranking player's list are UCLA, Texas A&M, UNLV and USC among others.