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.
In this interview with Harrison Sanford of FiveStarBasketball.com, Shabazz Muhammad says he’s considering six schools.
The No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2012 is looking at Kentucky, Duke, UCLA, Arizona, Kansas and UNLV.
USC, the alma mater of Muhammad’s father, Ron Holmes, is apparently out, as is Texas A&M, as Five Star reported.
“I narrowed my list down actually to six,” he said at the City of Palms Classic. “I think it was a good thing for me to narrow them down to six because a lot of schools were calling that I wasn’t really interested in. So now I can stay grounded on the court and get ready and go through the season.”
Kentucky remains prominent and head coach John Calipari and his staff were on hand at the City of Palms to watch several recruits, including Muhammad, Nerlens Noel and Julius Randle.
“It’s great seeing him in the stands and watching him on TV,” Muhammad said. “If he’s there watching you, that’s a blessing to have.”
One surprise may be that Arizona, which was not prominently mentioned before, is now among his six.
“Arizona, they’ve always been in it,” Muhammad said. “Coach [Sean] Miller was at my pratice last week so I talked to him, had a good conversation with him. And just like the way they move the ball and they run transition and I think I can fit in very well there.”
Muhammad conceded that Arizona has gone up in his estimation recently.
“Oh, absolutely,” he said. “They really started showing interest. Started calling my dad and me so it’s a great experience. And I really like them as a program.”
As for UNLV, his hometown school, Muhammad said, “It’s a great situation. I mean, UNLV fans are tough. It’s tough not to go there. They’re at my games. They got the Fatheads there. Everything. They’re a great fan base and they’re a great program that I’m also looking at.”
Much has been made of UCLA’s early-season struggles and how they might affect Muhammad, a West Coast kid who has talked about playing alongside UCLA commit Kyle Anderson.
“UCLA’s a great program,” he said. “They struggled early and watching other teams like Kentucky…do well, it kind of gets your attitude going to the bottom of them. They’re a really great program and still a lot of interest in them.
“They’re a great program and they’re going to continue to work it out and hopefully they can have a great season.”
Muhammad will visit Duke March 3 for the North Carolina game and they remain a factor.
“Duke is a great program,” he said. “Coach K is a great guy and tradition is a key there. Just watching them play, they just get up and down and Coach K lets his guards go and that’s an important thing I like to see.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
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.