Former Arkansas men’s basketball coach Nolan Richardson has scouted hundreds of thousands of players during his decades of college coaching. However, he didn’t need to jog his memory long to recall the name Basil Shabazz.
Richardson vividly remembered Shabazz, who starred in four sports at Pine Bluff High School in 1990-91. Richardson, who won a national championship at Arkansas in 1994, called Shabazz “the greatest athlete to ever come out of Arkansas” and said he recruited the 6-foot-1, 195-pounder, who dunked in fifth grade.
“I believe I saw one of his football games, and he was just a freak of nature,” Richardson says. “He was awfully good. I followed him quite a bit, but we had a hunch he was going football. I aways thought he could have played any of four of those sports at the college level.”
Former UA hoops coach Nolan Richardson related to Basil Shabazz.
Richardson says “he’s pretty sure” he and former UA football coach Jack Crowe had conversations about jointly recruiting Shabazz to play both sports for the Hogs.
The Hall of Fame coach related to Shabazz, as he was a multi-sport star at Bowie (El Paso, Texas) High School. On the court, Richardson … Read more >
Barely a minute had passed and the texts and tweets and re-tweets were already coming. During my initial visit with former Pine Bluff High School star athlete Basil Shabazz, I tweeted a picture of he and I together.
Several peers all had the same question — ‘How did you track him down?’
The short answer is — with help from Shabazz’s friend Carlos James, but here is the back story.
It wasn’t long after I started as a sportswriter at the Pine Bluff Commercial in 2001 that I heard stories about Shabazz, who despite being a four-sport all-stater and MLB draft pick never realized post-prep athletic greatness. I think I even inquired about doing a story on him but hit too many road blocks.
During that time I became very acquainted with two of Shabazz’s dear friends — James and Major League Baseball All-Star outfielder Torii Hunter. It took pleading from both of them for Shabazz to finally grant me an interview in 2008. I penned a Where are they Now? story for the inaugural VYPE High School Football magazine Preview.
I spent two days with Basil Shabazz in Plano, Texas.
Shabazz, who has lived reclusively in Texas since 1997, … Read more >