Published Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011 | 5:05 p.m.
Updated Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011 | 7:51 p.m.
Shabazz Muhammad became the Bishop Gorman High basketball program’s all-time leading scorer Thursday, posting a game-high 22 points in a 76-38 victory against Ohio’s Lakota East at the Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach, S.C., to surpass C.J. Watson with 1,640 career points.
Watson, a guard currently with the Chicago Bulls, led Gorman to the state championship game in his final three seasons in posting 1,632 career points. Watson was the state’s player of the year as a junior and senior, helping Gorman win championships in 2000 and 2002. His jersey No. 32 is retired by the school.
Muhammad, a 6-foot-6 wing who is rated as the No. 1 recruiting prospect for the class of 2012, averaged 25 points per game last year as a junior. He’s on pace to easily reach 2,000 career points.
“They are the two hardest workers we’ve had,” Gorman coach Grant Rice said. “C.J. was always there before practice and after practice getting extra work in. Shabazz does the same thing. We’ll practice for two hours and he'll stay another hour working on his (game). Obviously, both have a lot of God-given ability, but that’s only half the story.”
Fans have shown up by the hundreds for Gorman’s games this week in South Carolina to get a glimpse of Muhammad. It was a same drill last week during a tournament in Florida.
After most games, he’s the last to leave the gym — and not because he’s working on his jumper. He’s flooded with autograph and photo requests and typically never refuses granted a fans’ wish.
“Shabazz is a real humble guy. He’s been great with everybody,” Rice said.
Gorman (6-2) led from start to finish, opening the game on a 32-2 run in advancing to the tournament semifinals. In two tournament games, they have outscored opponents 157-71.
The Gaels led 41-8 by halftime, using 17 points on 7 of 8 shooting from Rosco Allen to open a lead. Allen also had 10 rebounds.
Demetris Morant finished six points and five blocks in 16 minutes, and Ronnie Stanley had four points, three blocks and three assists in 13 minutes.
Gorman limited Lakota East to 29-percent shooting for the game and just four field goals in the first half.
Gorman on Friday plays Georgia’s Milton High in the tournament semifinals.