Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Shabazz Muhammad, the top uncommitted wing player in the Class of 2012, will take an official visit to UCLA in early April and then announce his college decision, likely April 9th or 10th, his father told SNY.tv Sunday evening.
“I think Coach [Ben] Howland wanted him to come at the beginning of April, for that weekend in the beginning April [6-8], but I know that’s close to the Jordan Game, so I have to look at those dates,” Ron Holmes told SNY.tv. “I’m not exactly sure but that’s when I’ve got it penciled in for.”
After that visit, the 6-foot-6 Muhammad plans to decide relatively soon.
He has previously taken officials to Texas A&M, Kentucky, Duke and Kansas and is considering UCLA, Duke, Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky and UNLV.
“That’s going to be our last official visit,” Holmes said of the UCLA visit. “Then I think he’s going to decide on the 9th or the 10th, something like that. He’ll do something at his high school [to announce].”
Muhammad will also play in the McDonald’s All-American Game March 28 in Chicago and the Jordan Brand Classic April 14 in Charlotte, N.C.
As previously reported by SNY.tv, Holmes supports Howland in the wake of the recent damning Sports Illustrated article.
Now, they plan to follow up with a visit to discuss things in greater depth.
“That’s why he’s going in to do an official, to get to the nuts and bolts of that and see what they’re talking about basically, and then go from there,” Holmes said.
As previously reported by CBSSports.com, the NCAA is monitoring Muhammad’s recruitment because it has reason to believe he may have received improper financial benefits.
Yet none of the aforementioned schools are known to have stopped recruiting Muhammad.
“I don’t even want to get into that,” Holmes said. “My lawyers don’t want me really speaking on their behalf.”
UCLA AD Dan Guerrero recently said Howland would return for next season, when the Bruins have 6-foot-9 McDonald’s All-American point guard Kyle Anderson coming in along with Oak Hill wing Jordan Adams.
They are also involved with 6-9 forward Tony Parker of Georgia.
“It would be very appealing for him to play with Kyle, if Tony comes in, and you got Jordan Adams,” Holmes said. “It’s a strong freshmen class coming in, so that makes it appealing.’
Holmes said he and Shabazz have been watching as much of the NCAA as they can, when they’re not doing a workout.
“We try to watch as much as we can,” Holmes said.
Holmes said he was “very surprised” that No. 2 Duke was upended Friday by No. 15 Lehigh, and that the loss only underscored Duke’s needs going forward.
“Very surprised but Coach K had been talking about that team with us and he understood that they had some deficiencies so that’s why he’s recruiting Shabazz so hard because he wants a more athletic player, a player that has the abilities to be a defensive player and things of that nature,” Holmes said. “He kind of saw the punch coming, I think.”
Of the teams recruiting Muhammad, only Kentucky and Kansas were still alive as of Sunday evening.
Kentucky cruised into the Sweet 16 by virtue of an 87-71 victory Saturday over Iowa State and Kansas was set to face Purdue later Sunday.
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.