Shabazz Muhammad Interview
The premier high school talent in the nation, Shabazz Muhammad sat down with us after practice on Thursday. Shabazz will represent the USA against the World at the Nike Hoop Summit in a game being played at the Rose Garden in Portland, OR on Saturday Night (7PM on FSN). The spectacular 2-guard is set to announce his college destination (UCLA or Kentucky) on National Signing day, April 11th.
NBADraft.net: First off congrats on the McDonalds MVP. And also, thanks for following us on twitter @nbadraft.net. We're a little late to the twitter game (under 5k followers). I see you're (@phenom15balla) getting close to 30k. That will probably double (when Shabazz makes his college choice) on the 11th! I've had the chance to see you play at half a dozen different events now and it's always a pleasure.....How important is it to you being the #1 pick?
Shabazz Muhammad: It's really important. With all the work that I've put in. I think I'm the hardest worker on the floor. Always trying to work the hardest. And when you do that, good things happen for you.
NBADraft.net: Aside from LeBron James (who was considered by many as a PG coming out of high school) do you have any idea who the last wing player that was selected first overall?
Shabazz Muhammad: No I don't.
NBADraft.net: Glenn "Big Dog" Robinson in 1994. Which just shows that it's rare.
NBADraft.net: What's the most important thing you look at when choosing a University?
Shabazz Muhammad: I think it's style of play. Matching the style of play that you like to play will help you to be succesful at the college level.
NBADraft.net: Can you tell me which college you're going to announce to? I promise to keep it between us.
Shabazz Muhammad: (laughs) I'll do it today.
NBADraft.net: It's really rare to see a player with such intensity and passion, where does that come from?
Shabazz Muhammad: I just think that it's more in how hard I work. Knowing that some of these guys don't work as hard as me in the gym. So just always trying to be the best and competiting.
NBADraft.net: You have had a mild case of tourette's since you were younger, how did that mold you into the player and person you are today?
Shabazz Muhammad: That molded me a lot. So much dedication in having that. A lot of people sort of talked about me, so I think that it motivated me and made me stronger. That's why I think I'm always really aggressive on the court.
NBADraft.net: Do you see it as a positive?
Shabazz Muhammad: Yeah I see it as a positive. Having that when I was younger and stuff. My Dad would never really take me to a Doctor and being able to overcome that was really a good thing for me.
NBADraft.net: Was there a moment in your life when you realized you had the talent to make a career out of basketball?
Shabazz Muhammad: Yeah I think when I got to high school I grew and got to be about 6'3 and started dunking and stuff and really started working on my skills.
NBADraft.net: I first got a chance to see you play when you were a sophomore at Pangos (Barnes was the headliner) you were 6-foot-3 and about 170 lbs. You were already killing it then! To see the progression your body has made has been remarkable. I remember you were wearing a grey dress shirt under your uniform at that. Were you trying to make a fashion statement?
Shabazz Muhammad: No, I was just being a clown.
NBADraft.net: You are a natural leader on the floor and similar to Kobe, you demand that teammates play with the same intensity level as yourself. Do you see some similarities between yourself and him?
Shabazz Muhammad: Yeah I always try to practice my moves. I have a lot of tapes of Kobe and his fallaway moves, his pivot moves. I think studying him is always a good thing to do. I think he's still the best, with his skillset. Always watching what he does on defense and offense, how aggressive he is and as a competitor, I try to emulate my game after his.
NBADraft.net: You grew up in Las Vegas. What's the best and worst part about living there?
Shabazz Muhammad: The best part, aside from The Strip, it's a really peaceful place. And the worst part is probably the heat.
NBADraft.net: Who was your biggest role model growing up?
Shabazz Muhammad: I think my Dad. Just because he pushed me so hard. Keeping me going until midnight and getting me up early in the morning to work on my game. Always in the gym with me. He's always been there pushing me to be great.
Follow Shabazz Muhammad on twitter @phenom15balla!