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July 23, 2011LAS VEGAS- Over the years, Las Vegas has hosted the largest travel team tournaments in the country. Top-flight prospects have flocked to the city to raise their stock in front of coaches and scouts. But in the 2012 class, Las Vegas has produced its own star in Shabazz Muhammad, and his stock couldn't be higher.
Muhammad, the No. 1 prospect in the Rivals150, put on a show in his first game of the adidas Super 64. With one side of the gym packed with fans and the other side loaded with college coaches, Muhammad put his Dream Vision team on his back during a second half come back against the Atlanta Celtics.
With his combative, athletic approach to the game, Muhammad poured in 38 points in a variety of ways. He posted up for buckets, attacked the rim, chased down rebounds, got to the free throw line and drained jumpers.
His well-rounded scoring game and athletic presence on the court are a testament to Muhammad's will to win and improve.
"People said I couldn't shoot, so I have worked a lot on my jump shot, free throws and my overall game," Muhammad told Rivals.com. "I've also been in the weight room working hard with my personal trainer. I'm up from 195 pounds to 215 pounds, and it has really helped my athleticism."
Willing to play his college ball anywhere in the country, including in his hometown, Muhammad will soon focus on choosing a school once the travel circuit is finished.
"The coach is the most important thing," Muhammad said about choosing a school. "I'm going to be under his system, so I need to know what he is like. I'll listen to what he has to say and want to know how he is going to develop me as a player.
"Location is important, too. With all the travel I do for AAU ball, it doesn't matter where I play. What matters is if I feel comfortable with the school."
Muhammad listed Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, Texas, Texas A&M, Memphis, UCLA and UNLV as the schools he is considering. Having already visited all but Texas, he admitted that there is a hierarchy among the schools, but he isn't ready to reveal which schools are at the top of his list.
Once the dust settles from his travel season, Muhammad will first determine which schools he will officially visit. Feeling no pressure to sign in the fall, Muhammad will then choose a school on his on timetable.
"I might sign early and I might not," he said. "I'll just make a decision when I feel I'm ready to make it."
Muhammad wasn't the only standout in battle between Dream Vision and the Atlanta Celtics. His potential future teammate Jordan Adams, who is committed to UCLA, was as dialed in as a shooter could be.
Behind seven three-pointers, Adams recorded a game-high 39 points against Dream Vision. Early on, he took advantage of a smaller defender, using his length and strength to get open looks.
The Compton Magic Black squad has an impressive duo of 2013 prospects out of Arizona. Paul Watson is a lean 6-foot-6 athlete who has a lot of wiggle to his game and can knock down the three. Colorado, Arizona State and Fresno State have already offered.
Jaron Hopkins is a 6-foot-4 combo guard with a great feel for the game. He is a physical driver and tough defender. Colorado has offered him as well.
Both will likely have offers from the majority of the Pac-12 by the end of this event.
THE NEXT ROY HIBBERT?
Fresno, Calif., big man Robert Upshaw won't dazzle you with his athleticism, but his feel for the game and skill level make him an impact player. He scores with either hand in the paint, is a terrific passer in the post, competes on the glass and holds his ground as a defender. As he grows into his body, look for improvements in his athleticism as well.
Katin Reinhardt - A physical combo guard with size, Reinhardt impressed with his playmaking for Belmont Shores. Plenty capable of scoring points behind the arc and off difficult midrange shots, Reinhardt demonstrated an impressive feel for the game as a passer.
Ishmail Wainright- This 2013 inside/outside threat nearly led his KC 76'ers team to an upset win over The Playaz. He was a clutch scorer down the stretch, getting buckets by posting in the midrange and also coming off screens behind the arc.
Savon Goodman- Kyle Anderson and Myles Davis grab the headlines and were terrific down the stretch, but the Playaz don't come away with a win without Goodman. Besides the fact that Goodman scored the winning bucket on a driving lay up, he repeatedly cleaned up messes on the defensive end and on the boards for his team. He projects as a terrific fit in Villanova's guard-oriented system. Goodman doesn't have to have a bunch of touches to be effective.