The Bazz that refreshes — Ben Howland lands Top Recruit Shabazz Muhammad, which will increase ticket sales, ramp up expectations, and maybe even improve future recruiting
Another acorn has fallen far from the tree — Just like UCLA’s most prolific Football player Jonathan Franklin was sired by a trojan, now UCLA’s best Basketball player also was spawned by a trojan Dad. Shabazz Muhammad, the son of u$c Basketballer Ron Holmes, has signed on the dotted line to play his mandated one year of College Hoops as a Bruin. Ben Howland has brought Muhammad to the Mountain, er, Hills of Westwood, despite the best efforts of Kentucky’s John Calipari and Duke’s Coach K, who were the two runners-up in the Shabazz Derby. Muhammad cites Coach Howland as the main reason for choosing UCLA, as well as the school’s recent mediocrity, which he sees as a challenge to overcome.
Some scouting services have Shabazz as the #1 recruit in the Country, with NO service ranking him lower than #2. Shabazz is a Shooting Guard or Small Forward who can just about do it all — Shoot, Drive, Dunk, Rebound, Defend, Pass, and sell popcorn at halftime. He has dominated High School All-Star games, and is already being projected as the Top Pick in next year’s NBA Draft. His unparalleled athleticism was on display last month when he won the McDonald’s All-American Slam Dunk Contest.
Not only will he START for UCLA this season, he will be the focal point of the Offense. Howland has already said that the Offense will be adjusted to take full advantage of Muhammad’s natural gifts. And if you think Muhammad will let all this hype go to his head, you would be wrong. Muhammad is KNOWN for his undying effort, and work ethic, working hard on every possession, and practicing harder and longer than anyone else. It is THIS type of attitude that makes him the superior specimen that he is, and that will inspire the whole Bruin team to kick up their intensity a few notches.
It is now possible that the Bruins will have three Freshmen playing key roles in this season’s success. Kyle Anderson is the #3 Recruit in the Nation, and Jordan Adams is also Top 50. While Adams is known for his outside shooting touch, Anderson is known for his court sense and high Basketball IQ. With Anderson feeding the rock to Muhammad and Adams, they could have the same kind of impact that Kentucky’s three Freshmen had during their run to the NCAA Championship this past season.
Not only that, but it is still possible that UCLA will add ANOTHER phenom to the mix. Center Tony Parker is expected to announce soon, and UCLA is one of his finalists. There are also a couple of other players that could sign soon (and no, I’m not implying any type of inside information — just picking up on Internet speculation). But even if no one else joins the Bruin Party, the tide has already turned, and the Bruin Program is back to Elite status. While one ignorant website is still anti-Howland, the rest of the World has backed off that agenda, and is willing to see how he does with this influx of new talent. And with another Final Four run imminent, maybe Howland will finally receive more unanimous support. He already has Muhammad, and Muhammad’s trojan Dad, as wholehearted backers.