The Shabazz Muhammad saga comes to a close tonight when he announces where he will attend school next year and which basketball team he will make a lot, lot, lot better. Most importantly, he'll follow up that announcement by signing his LOI and faxing it in, making his decision official and either UCLA, Kentucky or Duke will be jumping for joy when that faxes gets in.
Muhammad will announce his decision at 4:45 pm PT on ESPNU. They're going to go live with the selection program at 4:30 pm PT so sweat out 15 more minutes then get ready.
No one player can fix a broken program so any change with Ben Howland's Bruins will have to come from Howland himself, with an overhaul in the way it is run, but adding a player like Muhammad can only help. Either the best or second best player in the country, Muhammad is a guy who can step in and make an impact on day one. He could also help form one of the best recruiting classes in the country with Kyle Anderson and Jordan Adams already in the fold and maybe Tony Parker to follow (he has not made a decision and has not set a timetable for making one).
As good as Muhammad is, it is his attitude that will make UCLA fans most happy. After watching a bunch of entitled kids run around the court the last few years, enabled by Howland, Muhammad is a throwback to the days when Bruin players were known by initials earned for their hard work and tenacity. This from the Sporting News:
Muhammad is widely admired by recruiting analysts for his energy and tenacity, which rarely abate. He played last summer in the adidas Super 64 tournament despite a strained ligament in his foot and, despite his standing with scouts and college coaches, still performed with more passion than most any participant in the event. He told Sporting News last summer he modeled his approach to the game on the way Kobe Bryant comports himself on the floor.
"What separates Muhammad from most freshmen is his approach and desire to be the best in everything he does," Scout.com analyst Brian Snow said. "From the time he was a freshman, he has had one clear focus, and that is to be the best -- and his game has grown because of it."
So tonight we'll find out. Is Muhammad going to try to help turn around this Bruin program or has he given up on it after having UCLA as his favorites for a long, long time. Come on, Shabazz, make the trek to Westwood. You won't regret it.