September 08, 2011
In case Las Vegas native Shabazz Muhammad didn't already know how important it is to UNLV that he stay home for college, a slightly overzealous Rebels fan made it abundantly clear earlier this summer.
Muhammad told ESPN last weekend that a UNLV supporter tweeted him claiming he would name his first-born after the Las Vegas Bishop Gorman star in exchange for a commitment to the Rebels.
"That was pretty crazy," Muhammad said. "There's a lot of stuff that goes on Twitter. Sometimes at Gorman, the UNLV fans come to practice and they have No. 15 jerseys with my name on the back. It's pretty hectic. The last time we practiced at Gorman, there were 200 UNLV fans there."
The level of fervor from UNLV fans is because it's rare that a prospect of Muhammad's stature seriously considers the Rebels. Muhammad, the consensus No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2012, lists UNLV among his favorites at this point along with the likes of UCLA, Kentucky, Kansas, Duke and USC, among others.
That a UNLV fan would offer to name his first child after a high school prospect is mildly frightening, yet it's also the next logical step considering what Rebels supporters have already done to woo Muhammad.
Besides a steady stream of pro-UNLV tweets and Facebook messages, UNLV fans showed up to his AAU games in Las Vegas en masse this summer. Las Vegas-based art director Josh Meeter even went so far as to create a faux Nike commercial encouraging Muhammad to "become a Rebel."
UNLV remains a dark horse to land Muhammad, but the Rebels do have a few advantages over their peers besides their location. Not only is newly hired UNLV coach Dave Rice's younger brother, Grant Rice, Muhammad's coach at Bishop Gorman, Muhammad is close to some current UNLV players as well.