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Parade of honors for Muhammad

Bishop Gorman High School senior Shabazz Muhammad already is celebrated among basketball fans as a high-flyer and dunk contest champion.

But closer examination of Muhammad’s offensive arsenal reveals rare post moves for a 6-foot-6-inch wing, a lethal jab step to separate from defenders and a perimeter jump shot that became a weapon through hard work.

"He’s as good and strong and physical as any guard or wing that I’ve seen or been associated with," Gorman coach Grant Rice said. "I’ve coached in some all-star games over the last couple years, and Shabazz definitely stands out as the most physical and the most competitive guy I’ve seen."

Muhammad has been named PARADE’s 56th Annual All-America Basketball Player of the Year. The list of teams is scheduled to be announced on PARADE’s website today, and Muhammad will be featured in PARADE’s magazine included in Sunday’s Review-Journal.

"It was a great senior year," Muhammad said. "We had a talented team, and I was blessed to have the opportunity to play with those guys."

Muhammad averaged 30.2 points, 10.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists as a senior. The UCLA signee shot 63.1 percent from the floor, including 41 percent on 3-pointers.

More important, he led Gorman (28-4) to its third Class 4A state title in his four-year varsity career, scoring 30 of his 36 points in the first half during a 96-51 rout of Hug in the state final Feb. 24 at UNR.

Muhammad said winning a state title was his favorite memory as a senior, but his celebrity only grew afterward.

Muhammad won or shared Most Valuable Player honors at the McDonald’s All-American Game and Jordan Brand Classic, leading his West teams to victories in both games.

Muhammad also scored an event-record 35 points in the Nike Hoop Summit on April 7 in Portland, Ore., in the USA Select Team’s 84-75 loss to the World Select Team.

"I think it was great," he said of wearing a USA jersey. "Having a chance to represent that on your back, it was a great opportunity."

His long list of senior honors includes Naismith, Morgan Wootten and ESPNHS national player of the year awards, along with Nevada player of the year honors from the Review-Journal and Gatorade.

CBSSports.com reported Feb. 29 that the NCAA was looking into how unofficial campus visits Muhammad took early in the recruiting process were paid for, but the NCAA has been quiet since Muhammad signed with UCLA on April 11.

"I’m confident it won’t be an issue," Muhammad said. "We’re doing it the right way."

Gorman’s graduation is set for noon June 3 at Orleans Arena.

"I’m just ready to graduate," Muhammad said. "I need to stay focused in college and work hard."

Findlay Prep senior forward Brandon Ashley, an Arizona signee, also is expected to be honored as part of the PARADE All-America team.

Contact reporter Tristan Aird at taird@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow him on Twitter: @tristanaird.

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