Duke Basketball 2012 Recruiting: Will the Blue Devils Land Shabazz Muhammad?

Josh SchochAnalyst IIIDecember 19, 2011


Shabazz Muhammad is the best recruit in the 2012 class, and there's a good chance he will be playing for Mike Krzyzewski and the Duke Blue Devils next season.

Duke, Kentucky, UCLA, USC and UNLV are all rumored to still be on his list after he cut it down from about a dozen schools early in the school year. Muhammad also considered Kansas, Texas A&M, Memphis, Arizona and a few other schools. Now his list seems to be winding down and Duke is still high on it.

After visiting Kentucky and Texas A&M early during the recruiting period, he scheduled his final three visits to Arizona, Duke and Kansas. However, most recruiting experts agree that he appears to have given up on Arizona, and won't add to Arizona's already stacked class.

Memphis, Texas A&M and Kansas have also faded, leaving five schools on his list.

His visit to USC must not have gone too well because he appears to have taken them off his list as well. Recently he has also lost interest in UCLA, leaving only Duke, Kentucky and UNLV on his list.

UNLV looks to be on his list solely because he is a Las Vegas native, and the odds of him going there are slim. UNLV does not have a program that can even come close to Duke and Kentucky, both of which have storied histories and are still dominant.

Shabazz had good things to say about UCLA, Kentucky and Duke earlier during his recruitment, but liked that Duke could help him improve his defense which is a weakness for him. This sets Duke apart from Kentucky.

While John Calipari is an incredible recruiter who should not be underestimated, the fact that the Wildcats already have an elite small forward joining them in Alex Poythress could hurt them.

Muhammad wants to be a star and show that he is worthy of being the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft, and if he has to share time with someone else, that may be a deal-breaker.

While Calipari would obviously find a way to help both players, Muhammad would immediately be the star of the Duke Blue Devils as Austin Rivers is this year, and Kyrie Irving was last year. He will be the go-to-guy of an elite program and that has to be very appealing.

Apart from having a good set-up for Muhammad, Duke also needs him. The Blue Devils only have shooting guard Rasheed Sulaimon joining them in the 2012 class, and they need another star like Muhammad.

While both schools will be going all-out to land Muhammad, the desperation of Duke may actually help them.

Duke fans should expect to land Muhammad. When Shabazz comes to Durham he will see a Duke-North Carolina game on March 3. There's no atmosphere quite like Cameron Indoor Stadium when UNC comes to town, and Muhammad will get to experience it.

I expect Muhammad to be a Blue Devil for the 2012-13 season, and Duke fans should keep an eye on Muhammad for the next few months.

Josh Schoch is an aspiring sportswriter dedicated to bringing you everything related to college basketball college football, the NFL, NBA, MLB and much more. Follow him on Twitter.