Now that UCLA has decided to retain UCLA basketball coach Ben Howland for the 2012-13 basketball season, Shabazz Muhammad, consensus No. 1 high school basketball recruit in the nation, is the primary focus of UCLA’s coaching staff.
With a disappointing season, having been ranked #20 in preseason polls but finishing with a 19-14 overall record, a ton of UCLA fans/students/alum were afraid that Shabazz Muhammad would drop UCLA from his list of preferred universities.
But Shabazz’s closest source says that’s not the case. That source, of course, is his daddy. From Adam Zagoria:
“We are happy for Coach Howland,” Holmes told SNY.tv. “I feel if given the opportunity he will get UCLA back on track.”
Asked if UCLA was still on his son’s list, Holmes said, “Yes, they are.”
Duh, OF COURSE WE FRIGGIN’ ARE. Dads love us because they know their kids are going to be 1) getting a quality education, and 2) surrounded by beautiful women and men. All we need is Mom’s endorsement and we’ll be solid. That shouldn’t be tough. Personally, I buy everything my Mom says, which is why I have lucky underwear for exams. (Tee-hee.)
But on a serious note, of course UCLA has a chance. As fellow TwitterBruin told us at our Twitter account (shameless plug — @GoJoeBruinUCLA), UCLA should feel good about nabbing Shabazz Muhammad. After all, Ben Howland still produces NBA-level talent, with UCLA having produced the most NBA players that are currently active. Ultimately, we assume, Shabazz’s goal is to go one-and-done and make millions as a baller for whoever sucks come 2013.
Still, it’s going to be tough to ignore that he lives in Las Vegas and that UNLV is currently in the NCAA tournament as a sixth seed while UCLA is not even in the NIT. As a former high school student living in Las Vegas, I can tell you that local kids go nuts for their Runnin’ Rebels. With Dave Rice seemingly turning the program around (odd, considering they were already perenially-tournament-bound), we have stiff competition.
Either way, we’re hopeful. UCLA has as good a chance as any in wooing Shabazz Muhammad.