Muhammad leads West to McDonald's win, grabs MVP award
Shabazz Muhammad had a tomahawk dunk and an alley-oop among his 21 points
UCLA recruit Kyle Anderson, ranked No. 2, had 13 points, 8 rebounds, 4 steals
Alex Poythress, headed for Kentucky, led all East scorers with 19 points
CHICAGO -- It took Shabazz Muhammad less than three minutes to show why he's regarded as the top recruit in the country.
The 6-foot-6 wing from Las Vegas threw down a tomahawk dunk, drilled a step-back three-pointer, finished an alley-oop and drove to the basket for an easy layup -- all before the 17-minute mark of the first half of the 35th Annual McDonald's All-American Game.
Muhammad scored 15 points in the first half despite only playing 12 minutes. His game-high 21 points led the West to a 106-102 victory and earned Muhammad the John R. Wooden MVP award.
"It means a lot," Muhammad said after the game. "There are so many talented players out there and it was just fun tonight to play with everybody."
Muhammad has yet to decide where he will play college ball, but numerous past McDonald's All-American game MVPs -- including Shaquille O'Neal and LeBron James -- have gone on to have successful NBA careers. Kentucky, Duke and UCLA seem to be the current frontrunners to land Muhammad, who is still focused on getting better.
"Winning all this stuff is great," Muhammad said, "but staying in the gym and staying humble is a thing I always want to do."
If he does decide to head to UCLA, the Las Vegas Bishop Gorman product could team up with Rivals.com's No. 2 overall recruit, point guard Kyle Anderson. On Wednesday night, however, Muhammad and Anderson were in opposite-colored jerseys.
Unlike Muhammad, Anderson struggled to score in the opening half, but finished strong with 11 second-half points. He also showcased his all-around game and ability to play three positions. The 6-foot-8, 215-pounder looked comfortable guarding post and perimeter players, grabbing rebounds and even walking the ball up the floor to set up his team's offense. A full-court football pass with a pump fake that led to a layup followed by a no-look dish to Tony Parker for a dunk demonstrated why Anderson is heralded as one of the most unselfish 2012 McDonald's All-Americans. His eight assists led all players.
"Everybody loves a guy at an all-star game who can get them the ball," said Anderson. "I can't really score so I might as well get somebody else some points."
He still managed 13 points and eight rebounds. Anderson also looked solid defensively. His four steals were more than any other player -- although one did lead to a missed dunk on a breakaway.
"It was embarrassing, but it happens to the best of us," said Anderson, who was afraid Brandon Ashley was going to block him from behind. "I had fun out here and that's what's most important."
In addition to Muhammad and Anderson, here are several other players who shined in the McDonald's All-American Game.
F Anthony Poythress: The future Kentucky Wildcat led all East team scorers with 19 points, including an effortless catch-and-shoot three-pointer in the first half. The 6-foot-8 swingman showed his ability to score both off the drive and in the post.
G Archie Goodwin: Poythress's future teammate at Kentucky, Goodwin was equally impressive on Wednesday night. He finished with 14 points and three steals, exhibiting versatility on both the offensive and defensive ends.
G Rasheed Sulaimon: The 6-foot-4 Duke commit demonstrated his outside touch, going 4-for-8 from behind the arc, including an NBA-range three he knocked down midway through the first half. The sharpshooter ended as the game's third-leading scorer, finishing with 18 points.
C Cameron Ridley: Texas' verbally committed big man had a well-rounded performance down low. The 6-foot-10 center showed his ability around the rim and off the glass with 12 points and nine rebounds.
C DaJuan Coleman: The Syracuse-bound center was a monster on the glass, pulling down a game-high 12 rebounds to complement his seven points.
F Brandon Ashley: Standing at just 6-foot-8 and 225 pounds, Ashley emerged as the top rebounder for the East. The future Arizona Wildcat collected 10 boards despite playing only 15 minutes.
C Tony Parker: After entering the United Center dancing as his name was announced, the 6-foot-9 Parker finished with 10 points and seven rebounds. Still uncommitted, he's considering Kansas, Duke, UCLA, Memphis and Ohio State.
G Rodney Purvis: The 6-foot-4 combo guard was the most impressive of the three N.C. State commits playing for the East. He was the team's second-leading scorer with 15 points.