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SF Shabazz Muhammad commits to UCLA

Class of 2012 small forward Shabazz Muhammad, the number one wing in the country, committed to UCLA moments ago over Duke and Kentucky.

“I will be going to UCLA,” Muhammad said live on ESPNU. “I felt that [head] coach [Ben] Howland and his staff just made me feel comfortable…that was the deciding factor. They haven’t been very good the last couple years, and we have the challenge to change that!”

Muhammad joins point guard Kyle Anderson and small forward Jordan Adams in head coach Ben Howland’s spectacular 2012 recruiting class.

Muhammad is a terrific all-around player who is excellent in getting to the basket. He has a great mid-range game and is very explosive in the lane. He’s a good athlete who has the ability to finish above the rim and through contact. Muhammad is the type of guy who is a program-changer.

He’s going to be an outstanding player at UCLA and will help a squad that was atrocious in scoring and rebounding, ranked below the likes of the New Jersey Institute of Technology in both categories. The McDonald’s All-American and Nike Hoop Summit participant will help the Bruins all over the court and will provide them with stellar play on both ends of the floor.

The combination of Adams, Anderson and Muhammad transform UCLA from a team who missed out on the 2011 NCAA Tournament to the favorite to win the Pac-12 next year. They’re also not done yet since their still chasing after power forward Tony Parker, among others.

The Bruins are still in the hunt for small forwards Devonta Pollard and Anthony January although both are expected to go elsewhere. In the class of 2013, UCLA is chasing after point guard Nigel Williams-Goss, shooting guard Isaac Hamilton, small forward Semi Ojeleye, power forward Johnathan Williams III and center BeeJay Anya, among others.

Here’s an excerpt of our evaluation of Muhammad, arguably the best player in the country, and some video highlights:

He is an athletic, impact-player who has a great motor and an unbelievable post and mid-range game. Inside the arc, he is nearly impossible to guard since he has a nice mid-range jumper and is a very good slasher. He is also has an excellent post-game for a wing player which allows him to score on the low block against guys if he has trouble on the perimeter. However, the thing that slides him into the conversation about whether he’s the best player in the country is his potential to lock down guys on defense. He uses his athleticism and quickness to stay in front of his man and to alter shots very effectively and should continue to develop into a defensive threat.

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