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Posted at 06:30 PM ET, 07/06/2011

Top-ranked Shabazz Muhammad of Las Vegas proves his mettle on first day of recruiting period

I’m not the biggest fan of recruiting rankings and always refer to a line offered by one of the Washington area’s top high school coaches, who compared such lists to a day at the horse track: “They are just odds on whether a kid will succeed. The higher the ranking, the better the odds.”

That said, it was hard not to like 6-foot-6 forward Shabazz Muhammad of Las Vegas, who is playing at the Adidas Invitational in Indianapolis with Dream Vision out of Southern California, scored 39 or 40 points (depending on the scorebook) as he rallied his team to beat Indiana Elite Team Indiana on Wednesday.

On the first day of the July recruiting period for college coaches, the bleachers at North Central High School were full of starpower. Name the coach and he was there: Rick Barnes, John Calipari, Bill Self, Mike Krzyzewski, Roy Williams, Ben Howland, etc.

Muhammad, who attends Bishop Gorman High School, recently was named the top player in the class of 2012 by rivals.com and scout.com. Those lists have put a target on his back, Muhammad said, requiring him to be ready each time he takes the court., especially when the big names of college basketball are watching.

“They’re going to try to take my head off and I’m going to try to take their head off,” Muhammad said. “Guys come after me. They know who I am. I have to play hard and win games.”

Muhammad has a long list of suitors, but said the only school he definitely plans to visit is Kentucky. Also in the chase, he said, are Duke, UCLA, Arizona, Texas, Kansas, Memphis, Nevada-Las Vegas and “some others I’m probably missing.”

“I’m wide open,” he said. “I’ll listen to every coach and see what they have to say, what they have to offer.”

By  |  06:30 PM ET, 07/06/2011

 
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