The night that Shabazz Muhammad was to decide where to go college was a big one for the Kentucky Wildcat faithful. Besides anxiously waiting for Muhammad’s, Wildcat fans were also tuning in to see where Nerlens Noel was headed. Both had Kentucky near the top of their lists but there was doubt about either one of them coming to Lexington.
Muhammad’s choice was between Kentucky and UCLA in the end. Kentucky seemed to be the logical choice for a five star player of Muhammad’s caliber. Kentucky would have been the easiest route to the NBA and to a possible top overall pick in the draft. UCLA was having trouble of their own as Ben Howland was facing a firestorm due to a cover story by Sports Illustrated about how he had let a once proud program crash due to players running amok.
But UK fans had few illusions. There were stories surfacing about Shabazz and his relationship with Adidas. UCLA is an Adidas school, Kentucky is a Nike school. In the end, it was no surprise that Muhammad chose the Bruins. There was a little foreshadowing by John Calipari before the announcement as he reiterated on ESPNU via telephone that Kentucky is not for everybody and it is definitely not a place for individual stars.
After the initial blow felt as Muhammad picked against Kentucky, the wind was back in the sails of Big Blue Nation as Nerlens Noel defied rumors that he was going to be a Georgetown Hoya, and turned around to reveal a “UK” shaved into the back of his flattop. Muhammad was forgotten and Big Blue Nation fell in love with Nerlens.
But now Shabazz is back in the news. And for all the wrong reasons.