Utah Basketball: Guarding Shabazz Muhammad

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Cedric Martin may be the most important man in a Utah uniform on Thursday night, and the senior forward may not score a single point against UCLA.

He will be the man tasked with trying to slow down Bruins freshman Shabazz Muhammad, who is averaging 19.6 points per game, second in the Pac-12.

It won't be an easy task at all. Muhammad is as talented as they come, a 6-foot-6 wing who can hurt you from the perimeter or in the paint by posting up.

"He's really tough to handle," Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak said. "He's great in transition. He can shoot it, he's gotten into shape and he's really rounding into form. It's going to be difficult for us to handle him."

Martin is the only Ute with the size, strength and quickness to match up with Muhammad. It's a good thing that he's the best defender on the roster.

The one thing Utah wants to do is keep Muhammad off the free-throw line. Easier said than done with the rookie, but Martin was effective against BYU's Tyler Haws earlier in the season.

Tony Jones