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UCLA Guard Muhammad Poised for NBA’s No. 1 Overall Pick


In just one week, UCLA guard Shabazz Muhammad is making his mark on the college basketball stage and gaining looks as the NBA’s No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 draft class.

The freshman phenom has only starred in two games, but is averaging 18 points, 2.5 rebounds, one assist and one steal per contest. He’s also posted a staggering 50 percent from the field and 50 percent from the three point arc.

Muhammad has garnered the attention he has merited as a top recruit in the class of 2012.  In just a pair of games, he’s been a work-horse for the Bruins, manufacturing points in bunches with a smooth jump shot and the ability to slash the basket.  Both attributes are vastly important as an NBA aspect, especially from a player who can double as a small forward.

The only other contender for the No. 1 overall selection in the 2013 draft is Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel, who’s 6-foot-11 frame is almost unrivaled in college basketball.  He’s being dubbed as one of the best defensive forces at the university level, mirroring that of former Wildcat and No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis.  Still, Noel doesn’t have as much of a polished offensive game than Muhammad, and his upside has been called into question by NBA prospects.

Meanwhile, the 6-foot-6, 225 pound Muhammad has the size of a prototypical NBA guard with a knack for getting to the basket with ease.  He’s also an elite defender with a hustling mentality and can body up small forwards at the college level.

In Muhammad’s absence, UCLA struggled mightily on defense and couldn’t find a consistent scorer in the bunch.  Now back from suspension, the 19-year-old guard will carry the Bruins to new heights in the Pac 12 and surge in the rankings as the NBA draft approaches.

Still, there’s plenty of basketball to play for scouts to get a real sense of how Muhammad can handle the pressure of being the No. 1 prospect in all of college hoops.  It sure hasn’t gone according to plan for Indiana’s sophomore center Cody Zeller, who was the former projected No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 draft.  The Hoosiers star was expected to outscore his former 2011-12 season average (15.9), but is still sputtering around 15 points per game.

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