CHICAGO - The 2012 McDonald's All-Americans finally had their chance to showcase their skills Wednesday night on the big stage. The stands at the United Center were mostly full and a national television audience watched the East and West fight through poor shooting to a 106-102 West victory.
And in the biggest spotlight was the nation's top ranked player, Shabazz Muhammad, who didn't disappoint. He scored 21 points and won the game's MVP award.
Muhammad put out the notice: He isn't giving up his top spot without a fight.
That much was evident on Wednesday night as the 6-foot-6 Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman wing put his stamp on high school basketball's most prestigious event.
Muhammad established his physicality and set the tone early as he scored nine of his team's first 11 points on dunks and jumpers. By the time his night was finished, the undecided five-star had racked up 21 points and six rebounds to go along with hardware for the game's MVP.
"It means a lot," Muhammad said. "There are so many talented players out here and it was just fun to play with everybody."
Muhammad agreed that he wanted to be the best player in the game. The approach is that of somebody who isn't afraid to be challenged and he expects to play well.
"When you come to every event you want to be known as the best player in the event," he said. "Just coming in here and really wanting to work hard and compete against everybody."
Of course, Muhammad still has his college decision ahead. Sitting next to two potential college teammates in Kentucky bound Archie Goodwin and Alex Poythress, Muhammad talked of how their games impressed him and he could see himself playing with them.
Muhammad said that he knew it was going to be a good night for him from the start. He felt good in warm-ups and it translated onto the court.
"In the beginning of the game I was really getting up and down the court," Muhammad said. "Things were going great for me."
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