Mr. Basketball Shabazz Muhammad Chooses UCLA

By Parvez Fatteh, Founder of,

shabazz-muhammad6-foot-6 high school basketball star Shabazz Muhammad of Nevada was recently named the 2011-2012 ESPNHS Mr. Basketball USA. “It’s really a great honor,” Muhammad said. “Nobody in Nevada was really known nationally like that. You always heard about the best players in the West being from California. I think it’s really special to represent my hometown [Las Vegas] with this award.”

Muhammad is the first Mr. Basketball USA from a Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association school and the first from the West Region since future NBA Hall of Famer Jason Kidd of St. Joseph (Alameda, Calif.) in 1991-92. This news came on the heels of the announcement that Shabazz had committed to play college basketball at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). This announcement was a shock to many, considering the extent to which the UCLA men’s basketball has struggled in recent years.

“I think the biggest thing was the challenge of bringing a storied program back to prominence,” said Muhammad’s father Ron Holmes. “At the end of the day, Kentucky didn’t have that. At the end of the day, Duke didn’t have that. Those programs are so great, but Shabazz and [incoming freshmen] Kyle [Anderson] and Jordan [Adams] and the Wear twins and Josh [Smith], if they can bring this program back to prominence they will go down in UCLA lore and college basketball lore.”

Bruins fans apparently believe in Muhammad’s ability to revive the program. A UCLA spokesman said the school experienced an increase in men’s basketball season-ticket purchases and memberships in the Wooden Athletic Fund since Muhammad signed his letter of intent. And web traffic to UCLA’s main athletic site,, increased 30% between Monday and Wednesday, according to the spokesman, who also said web traffic to the university site where men’s basketball tickets are sold nearly quadrupled. UCLA was once led by a great Muslim basketball player, Kareem Abdul Jabbar. Now UCLA has pinned its hopes on another Muslim baller, but only time will tell if Shabazz Muhammad can deliver.


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