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.
Luther Muhammad talks St. John’s visit, upcoming visits (UPDATED)
AUGUSTA, Ga. — Luther Muhammad had hoped to be competing in the Peach Jam this week, but because his NY Rens team failed to qualify they ended up in the Peach Invitational Tournament instead.
Located a few miles from the Peach Jam, the Peach Invitational is a much less prestigious event yet it drew a slew of coaches on Thursday to see Muhammad and his Hudson (N.J.) Catholic teammate Louis King of Team Final, which lost a play-in game at the Peach Jam on Wednesday.
“No, it’s not tough [to be motivated],” the 6-foot-4 Muhammad told me Thursday after a tough loss to Jalen Lecque and Southern Stampede. “Mostly, I’m self-motivated so it don’t matter if I’m playing outside. It don’t matter. I come to play every time. I play every game like my last.”
Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim and two assistants along with assistants from Seton Hall, St. John’s and Ohio State are among those to watch Muhammad this week. West Virginia also jumped into the fray with an offer on Friday after head coach Bob Huggins saw him play.
“Yeah, I notice them but I don’t really pay too much attention, I’m trying to win a game,” he said.
“Right now, I’m still open and still enjoying the process.”
Syracuse has not offered, but Gerry McNamara has been recruiting Muhammad.
“They say everything that I do, take it to their program, basically,” he said. “Playing hard, playing defense, talking and being a point guard.”
Muhammad also took an official to St. John’s June 23-25.
“It was really good,” he said. “I met with the academic person of the whole school. He basically explained how freshman classes, how they bring you in in the summertime and you have three classes so during the season you won’t have as many classes and you won’t have as much work because you travel a lot.”
As for on the court, “What impressed me was they had a slip of [paper] of everything I do really well and everything I do bad and then everything they’re going to to do to make my weaknesses to my strengths and my strengths stay my strengths. That was really good, that snuck up on me.”
Muhammad is aware that head coach Chris Mullin and assistant Mitch Richmond both played in the NBA.
“That’s great, but at the end of the day you have to know how to coach and you gotta know how to make people better,” he said.
Looking ahead, Muhammad will visit Ohio State in September after former Butler coach Chris Holtmann and assistant Mike Schrage left the Big East school where they were recruiting Muhammad.
“In September, I will be visiting Ohio State,” Muhammad said. “It’s the same message as Butler, just with a new program basically.”
Muhammad also confirmed he will visit Xavier in September.
Meantime, Muhammad, a natural shooting guard, is transitioning to become a point guard with the Rens.
“It’s coming along really well as far as knowing when to score, pass, slow the game down, speed the game up, knowing how to run a team, getting everyone in the right spot and putting everyone in a position to play to their strengths,” he said earlier. “I want to make everyone around me better.”
Said Rens coach Chris Alesi: “Luther is the prototpyical combo guard who, over the past month or so, has made a smooth transition to playing as a pure point guard, which is what he projects to be in college.
“He’s a kid who relentlessly works on improving his game and I would say he’s a little underrated nationally. He’s an elite competitor in the mold of former Pitt standout Levance Fields.”
Photo: Under Armor
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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.