Courtesy of FanRag Sports.
By David Cordova
Northern New Jersey has had a lot of great basketball teams for many years that were filled with a lot of talent and star power. But a couple of great powerhouses, such as Paterson Catholic and St. Anthony’s, have closed down the last few years, due to declining enrollment and financial issues.
Now the next great powerhouse in North Jersey is located at 790 Bergen Avenue in Jersey City. The school’s name is Hudson Catholic and its nickname is the Hawks. This year, they have a trio of talented seniors that will all play Division I basketball. But one of them is truly the heart and soul of the team.
Luther Muhammad, a 6-foot-3 shooting guard, is a hard working player with plenty of skills, athleticism and hustle. He is the type of player that many coaches want to be a part of their program because he has one instinct that can’t be taught: toughness.
The senior guard learned that toughness from his upbringing in Newark, New Jersey. “It’s a bad environment, but luckily, I got a good mom to keep me in the right way,” says Muhammad, “It’s motivation to make it out. It’s tough, it’s a tough environment to live in.”
Muhammad first started playing basketball with King Street Kings and then later transitioned to Sports U, where he was a mainstay for many years. He formed a good quintet with Jahvon Quinerly and Louis King, who are also seniors at Hudson Catholic and nationally-ranked recruits in the Class of 2018, as well as Nazreon “Nazi” Reid of Roselle Catholic and Atiba Taylor, Jr. of The Patrick School. This quintet was known as the “Fab Five.”
On his time with Sports U, Muhammad replied, “It was great. We’ve been together since seventh grade and it went from there. Like, Sports U, I applaud them because they showed me, real basketball, I would say, as far as high-level games, playing in a high-level environment, conducting yourself and basically not messing up your reputation, so I thank Sports U for that.”
When asked about the brotherhood with Reid, Taylor, Quinerly and King, he replied, “We’re bros on & off the court. It don’t matter if we switched teams, we still cool, none of that affects our friendship, cause we all know that we’re way much cooler than this basketball stuff and we all want what’s best for each other, so I actually think like, breaking up, kind of helped bring us closer because we were with each other all the time, so now it’s like, we come home from camps and stuff, like ‘Yo, what y’all doing, we gotta link, I ain’t see y’all in a minute,’ so it kind of improved, boosted our friendship.”
By the end of his junior season at Hudson Catholic, Muhammad had reached the 1,000-point milestone. When asked what it has been like being a four-year starter at Hudson, he replied, “It feels good. Like I said, it’s motivation, to do more. I always want to do more, I never settle for what I did before. If I get 1,000 [points], I want 2,000 now. It’s like I want to push myself to the limit.”
Last season, the Hawks won the Hudson County title and then the North Jersey, Non-Public B title and finished the season at 26-4. When asked about that spectacular season, he asked, “It was a great season, even though we fell short to St. Pat’s [The Patrick School].”
But the biggest highlight of the season came on March 8th at the Louis Brown Athletic Center in Piscataway on the campus of Rutgers University, when Hudson Catholic knocked off none other than St. Anthony, 64-61, in what would be the Friars’ final game ever before the school closed in June due to financial reasons.
In that game, Muhammad had 15 points. When asked about that historical game, he replied, “We hadn’t beat St. Ant’s in years, a lot of years. So it was like, we were the underdogs and that put a chip on our shoulders and a battery on our back and I don’t think they came out sleeping, I think they came out with their best and we did as well and that day, we were the better team.”
As far as his collegiate recruitment, Muhammad can now focus on his senior season without the stress of picking a school, because he did just that on September 22nd, when he decided to commit to Ohio State University to play for head coach Chris Holtmann.
When asked about his commitment to the Big Ten school, he replied, “What made me commit there? Great academics, great alumni and their scholarship is not a four-year scholarship. I look at it as a forty-year scholarship, like I feel like they can help me a lot outside of basketball, as far as being successful and helping me know what I want to do in life as far as like, ‘If basketball don’t work out, what you wanna do,’ like management, there’s a lot of alumni in that and plus, I’ve got family that went there, one is a doctor, one’s a guidance counselor and it felt like home, because it was away, but I still was next to family, family was still there. And as a freshman, I’m gonna bring whatever Coach Holtmann wants me to bring, if he wants me to play defense, I’ll do it, if he wants me to score, I’ll do it, whatever he needs me to do, I’ll do it.”
After averaging 15.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.1 assists as a junior, Muhammad is primed for a big year as a senior. When asked what his plans are for his final season in a Hawks uniform, he said, “Take it step by step, game by game. First goal is County chip, again, and then when we get there and hopefully, we get that, our next goal is sectional chip again, then if we get there and hopefully win that, step by step, the ultimate goal is T.O.C., so hopefully we make it there and hopefully we win it.”
As long as the senior trio and supporting cast come together and do damage this year, the Hawks will end up being a very dangerous team in North Jersey. As for Muhammad, when his career at Hudson Catholic ends, he will have Ohio State to look forward to and the chance at a great education off the court and big games on the court. The kid from Newark has nothing but bright things ahead in his future.
Highlights of Luther Muhammad:
Courtesy of Hoop Diamond.
Courtesy of Hoop Major Media.
Courtesy of NJ Hoop Recruit.
Courtesy of Rivals.com
Courtesy of Hoop Diamonds.
Courtesy of Hoop Nation TV.