Shabazz Muhammad declares for NBA draft

In perhaps the least surprising announcement of 2013, UCLA star Shabazz Muhammad officially declared for the NBA Draft today.

“I am so thankful for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play at UCLA and will always be proud to be a Bruin,” Muhammad said in a statement through the school. “From a young age, I have dreamed of playing in the NBA, and I believe that this is the right time for me to move to the next level.”

The announcement comes more than a month after former head coach Ben Howland said that he fully expected the freshman, once ranked the No. 1 recruit in the country, to go pro after one season.

“That was his last game at Pauley Pavilion, no doubt about it,” he said March 2 after a 74-69 win over Arizona. Howland was fired on March 24.

Muhammad is projected to go in the top 10 of the June 27 draft, signaling the end of a scrutinized one-and-done campaign that began with a three-game NCAA suspension. Throughout the winter, the Pac-12 Co-Freshman of the Year was also criticized for everything from wearing a Gucci backpack to not celebrating teammate Larry Drew II’s game-winner against Washington.

Nonetheless, he led the team with 17.9 points per game and helped the Bruins (25-10) to a Pac-12 regular-season title. UCLA lost to Oregon in the conference tournament final, and then to Minnesota in the NCAA tournament’s round of 64.

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  • Mark

    Good riddance! He added absolutely nothing to Ucla, and basically epitomized everything that was wrong with Howland and the type of player he recruited. I’m confident Alford is out recruiting good COLLEGE PLAYERS who will stay at Ucla a long time. It would be great to have meaningful senior days again.

    • Right. Alford’s scouring the police blotters

      • maze949

        No SUC transfers, thanks.

  • drakejr

    If it doesn’t work out in the NBA, he can always lie about his identity and come back to college ball. Lying has never been a problem for him.

  • Michael Link

    Would not draft this kid if he was the only player in the draft. Fat, poor defense, ball hog, bad attitude, doesn’t know how old he is. What a putz. Be out of NBA in three years…

  • Wow. I am surprised at the reaction. He did have a bad attitude at times like when Larry Drew didn’t pass to him. He wasn’t as good as I heard he was but I enjoyed watching him for the one year he was here.

    • Reactions here probably have more to do with the level of bitterness and disappointment hovering around the program right now. Shabazz wasn’t an amazing Bruin, but I think a lot of the negativity is more accurately placed in the administration.

  • samollie

    Thanks Bazz. Good luck to all Bruins who move on. Turning the page….

  • Sam C

    I don’t think he’s ready. Are you ready if you can’t will you team past the first round of the ncaa’s?

  • 92104bruinfan

    He’s considered a late lottery pick at this stage with good shooting ability but not much else brought to the table. Yoon noted he pulled a rare feat in having more offensive rebounds than defensive rebounds this past season…that’s tough to accomplish. Time for UCLA hoops to move forward. Best wishes to Bazz in the Association but we barely knew you.

  • Lifelong Bruin Fan

    I really wish Shabazz had decided to stay another year, not for the team’s sake, but for his own. At this point in his development, he doesn’t have a clear-cut position in an NBA lineup–too small to play the 3, and not yet skilled enough to play the 2. He will need to dramatically improve his right-hand dribble and ability to break down his defender to flourish in the NBA. Add to that the ability to hit his jumper coming off screens, as he currently is basically a standstill jumpshooter. I hope the defensive lessons he learned under Howland will pay dividends.

    I wish him success at the next level but honestly I have some reservations about his preparedness. I hope his career doesn’t follow a similar path as EOB.