NBA bid for local import

Andrew Mathieson
SUPERCAT import Ismail Muhammad keeps breaking new ground every time he steps onto the court for Geelong.
Even years before the 198cm forward first dropped his bags at the Geelong Arena, a leading US sports magazine had rated the SEABL club’s newest recruit the 2004 most exciting collegiate dunker.
Only a handful of games into his second season this year, Muhammad was the first player to win back-to-back league player of the week awards since 2007.
Not only has the Supercat favourite since raised eyebrows amid NBL talent scouts, he is set to trial this week with Michael Jordan-owned club Charlotte Bobcats for a spot on its NBA roster next season.
Whether the competition badge on the singlet ends with L or A, Muhammad is decidedly unfazed by the attention or the fame.
“If the opportunity presents itself in the top leagues, of course it would be something I would be more than happy to play in,” Muhammad told the Independent.
The Bobcats offer is the third time Muhammad has been linked to an NBA club.
The four-day trial will coincide with the Supercats’ bye. The team expects Muhammad to return for next Friday’s home game against Knox.
He played second fiddle to teammate Nathan Herbert, ironically the Adelaide 36ers’ NBL star, who collected a game-high 36 points in the Supercats’ resounding 109-91 away win over Brisbane Spartans.
But scoring a lazy 28 points, 12 rebounds and five assists, Muhammad’s role was more than just tuning up the band.
The 26-year-old has credited settling into his surrounds better this year under new coach Jamie O’Loughlin for his form surge in his second season at the club.
“I think we’re clicking, have got good chemistry going and we’re riding the wave right now,” Muhammad said.
“It’s just a matter of being comfortable.
“I think the big difference is being in a new country but we’ve got most of the guys from last year, so it’s been a lot easier.”
Geelong is eyeing off a top-two spot with a 10-8 win/loss record and eight games remaining before the finals.