BROOKLYN — Shabazz Muhammad of UCLA making his highly anticipated NCAA debut.
Cody Zeller of Indiana battling a breathing problem in front of 50+ NBA scouts.
Otto Porter of Georgetown proving his versatility at both ends is no fluke.
Jordan Hulls of Indiana stealing the show and taking home the Legends Classic MVP honor.
The Legends Classic at the Barclays Center featured prospects who will continuously be evaluated as the season goes on, but here’s a look at where 10 participants from the tournament stand after the first few weeks of the NCAA season:
Shabazz Muhammad, 6-6, Guard / Forward, Freshman, UCLA: After dealing with all of the uncertainty caused by the NCAA probe that made him temporarily ineligible, Muhammad is trying to find himself while his team finds itself. Though he looked much more comfortable and in rhythm within the UCLA offense last night against Georgia, Muhammad is learning about how to deal with the length, strength and athleticism of defenders he’ll be facing on a nightly basis on offense.
It’s not as easy for him to get his jump hooks from the corner off because he has to fight harder for position and shoot up over the top of bigs. His dribbling ability has never been the sharpest point in his game but he knows how to utilize dribbles wisely so that he can get his shots off. Despite shooting 6-for-12 from the field and scoring 21 points in UCLA’s 60-56 win over Georgia, Muhammad can be and will likely become more dominant on the offensive end in time. If he can regain his explosiveness as a result of the 10-15 pounds of weight he’d like to shed as the season wears on, he’ll become much more dangerous in transition and as a rebounder at both ends of the floor. The bottom line with Shabazz at the offensive end is that he has a versatile scoring repertoire that he has to adjust to the college level of play. His learning curve at this end will impact how the Bruins develop. The sooner Shabazz can become more comfortable, the better for the Bruins’ offense.
Defensively, Shabazz has learned a lot so far at UCLA and should continue to get better as his fundamentals improve and he adjusts to the speed of the game.
“The adjustment is really a big difference. Getting through screens, trailing screens, getting over screens, so I mean it’s a lot of stuff, said Muhammad. “You have to be really smart and learn the game a lot. It’s really been a really good change for me because coming here I really learned how to stay down in a defensive stance and really learned how to play defense to really get my game complete.”
Kyle Anderson, 6-9, Point Guard / Forward, Freshman, UCLA: Let’s be clear: Anderson’s main strength as a player does not reside in his ability to score the basketball, right now.