SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – University of San Francisco point guard Khalil Shabazz has been a standout in his first season on the court with the Dons, but his journey to USF is an unconventional one.
USF’s head coach Todd Golden explains how the point guard landed at the D1 school.
“We didn’t recruit him very much out of high school, and really it wasn’t until he had that success in D2 that he really kind of sparked our interest,” Golden said. “He played on a very good AAU team with a lot of talented guys, so he really didn’t get much of an opportunity until he went to D2.”
Despite helping Rainier Beach High School in Seattle win two state championships, Shabazz went virtually unnoticed in his senior season.
While many of his teammates went on to division one college programs, Shabazz received just one offer. A partial scholarship to a Division 2 school, Central Washington University.
When speaking with the point guard, Shabazz discusses what those moments leading up to a D1 school felt like.
“There were nights where I was sitting in my room, just really down on myself,” Shabazz said. “Like man, I put in all these extra hours, I did everything I could, I had the good GPA, I was just a good kid when it came to the community and just treating people with respect, I didn’t understand why I wasn’t one of those guys going to a high major school.”
But Shabazz was still determined to make the best of the situation and use it as motivation.
“I just kinda had the mindset that, ok, so I’m overlooked, but I’m not gonna pout about it. It’s a fresh new start. It’s my first year in college. I’m just gonna go out there and try to show everybody why I shoulda went D1.”
And he did just that, Shabazz led Central Washington with 15.3 points per game, earning conference freshman of the year honors and the attention of some other programs.
“We knew it was a really tough league, for him to produce like that as a freshman, we figured he’d be really good if we were able to pick him up,” Golden said.
USF’s guard Trevante Andersen spoke about Shabazz’s journey.
“I think he was kind of a late bloomer, in high school I didn’t think he was that D1 level. Senior year he had a few games where it was oh, he probably could play, but then when he got to college he got a lot better and earned his opportunity here.”
That opportunity was a full scholarship to USF.
After sitting out a year per NCAA transfer rules, Shabazz debuted with the Dons this season, and has made his mark as the team’s fourth leading scorer.
USF’s head coach. “I like to call him our game changer, we put him in the game, and he comes off the bench for us but he’s talented enough to be a starter for sure, but he just gives us a punch.”
Anderson added, “He’s good at giving us extra possessions, whether that’s getting us a quick rebound, getting a steal, things like that.”
But just because Shabazz is living the D1 dream, that doesn’t mean he’s finished making plans.
Shabazz says, “I wanna win a WCC Championship, I wanna go to March Madness, I wanna win that March Madness Championship, I just wanna win. That’s what I plan to do.”
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