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Hoops Roundup: Muhammad trims list; Bennett continues to wait


CHICAGO -- Following this week's McDonald's All-American Game, here are five thoughts on the latest college basketball recruiting developments.

1. The race is on for Shabazz Muhammad. The McDonald's All-American Game MVP, Muhammad claims he doesn't know where he will go to college yet. But he has honed in on three schools: Kentucky, Duke and UCLA. Kansas and hometown school UNLV seem to have fallen from his list.

This is certainly good news for each of the three programs, but perhaps most significantly for Kentucky. The Wildcats have been viewed as the frontrunner for the majority of Muhammad's senior season, with nearby UNLV lurking as a dark horse. With the Runnin' Rebels seemingly out of it, has Kentucky emerged as the unquestioned favorite?

It's very possible, though Duke did host Muhammad on his most recent official visit. UCLA has only hosted Muhammad on unofficial trips, as he was scheduled to visit UCLA over Easter weekend but decided to participate in the Nike Hoop Summit instead.

Muhammad has been trying to keep his leanings under wraps, speaking highly of both Coach K's history of success at Duke and John Calipari's ability to develop NBA players at Kentucky. On April 11, Muhammad plans to announce. The college basketball world will be watching.

2. Devonta Pollard could be staying south.Pollard, another uncommitted McDonald's All-American, revealed a couple bits of recruiting news during the practice sessions in Chicago. Namely, he is no longer interested in Kentucky. His consideration set is down to Alabama, Georgetown, Mississippi State, Missouri and Texas.

Pollard has two official visits scheduled in April, one to Alabama over Easter weekend and the other to Georgetown on April 16. The 6-foot-7 forward has already officially visited Missouri and Texas, and being from Porterville, Miss., he is quite familiar with Mississippi State.

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The biggest challenge for Georgetown, Missouri and Texas is to draw Pollard out of the Deep South. With Pollard's inclination to stay close to home and the uncertainty plaguing the Mississippi State coaching situation, Alabama could be in the lead. He has already visited Tuscaloosa once before.

3. Anthony Bennett will play the waiting game. It will likely be a long time before Bennett, who scored nine points in Wednesday's showcase, makes his ultimate college decision. Down to Florida, Kentucky, Oregon, UNLV and Washington, he has yet to use any of his five official visits, something that doesn't figure to change soon: He won't embark on any trips until after the Jordan Brand Game late in April.

Much remains to be sorted out, but Florida and Kentucky appear to be the early leaders. In Bennett's case, only time will tell.

4. Amile Jefferson isn't ready to make a decision yet. Of all the uncommitted All-Americans, Jefferson has faced the greatest recruiting scrutiny in recent weeks. Though his decision has been labeled "any day now" for months, he still seems to be weighing his options. At one point, Jefferson was expected to commit to N.C. State, but then Duke got involved.

"When I was close to a decision a few months ago, I started talking to Duke and wanted to take a hard look at them and give them a chance," Jefferson said. "The ability to provide athletics and academics at that school is unbelievable. Coach K is great. To be coached by him one day would be unbelievable."

But keep in mind: a commitment to Duke hasn't happened yet, either.

Jefferson is officially down to Kentucky, Ohio State, Temple and Villanova, along with Duke and N.C. State, and seems to finally be closing in on a resolution. But his final decision may not come until he knows whether Muhammad is headed to Duke and whether several other top prospects, including, Bennett are bound for Kentucky.

5. The toughest recruiting read is still Tony Parker. The last of the uncommitted McDonald's All-Americans, Parker has had one of the toughest recruiting battles to handicap. Duke, Georgia, Kansas, Memphis, Ohio State and UCLA are all in the mix, and none seems to have a clear advantage. It's started a rumor mill of sorts: At one time Parker was rumored to be joining Kyle Anderson at UCLA, and at another he seemed destined to be Jared Sullinger's low-post replacement in Columbus. Most recently, he has been linked with in-state Georgia, a program that reportedly made a lasting impression.

Parker claims he doesn't know where he'll end up, but he does plan to come to a decision soon. It's certainly one to monitor: His dominating interior presence could wreak havoc at the next level.