One of the first questions asked of Shabazz Muhammad at the NBA draft combine this week was, unsurprisingly, about his age. The former No. 1 recruit’s one-and-done season at UCLA had begun with a suspension and ended with a bizarre report that his father, Ron Holmes, made his son one year younger.
After confirming again that he is 20 years old, Muhammad hinted that the blame lay solely with his father.
“I’m gonna talk for myself now,” he said. “I was a guy who used to just play basketball and let some of my guys talk for me, family members. Right now, I’m more mature as a person.”
Muhammad may also be the only lottery pick who is participating in the NBA draft combine workouts. Top prospects typically opt out since they don’t have much to gain, and arrive instead for interviews. The reigning Pac-12 Co-Freshman of the Year said he chose to participate because he always wants to complete. “I’m not running from anybody,” he told ESPN’s Andy Katz. Continue reading →
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.
Ben Howland didn’t see what the fuss was all about.
The UCLA coach had presumed that Shabazz Muhammad’s entry into the NBA Draft was practically common knowledge. So when the media asked if the Bruins’ star freshman had played his final game at Pauley Pavilion on Saturday, Howland said yes.
On Monday, he clarified that he hadn’t received the information from Muhammad and apologized for speaking out of turn — while suggesting that a player of that caliber would still be better off going pro.
“I’m sometimes too honest,” Howland said. “It would have been better to answer that question differently the other day. I’ve never discussed it with Shabazz. It’s kind of obvious when a kid’s a lottery pick that they’re going to the NBA in this day and age. … Continue reading →
Q: Larry Scott has been very active since becoming commissioner, expanding the conference from ten to twelve, creating the Pac-12 Networks, and bringing a tremendous amount of new revenue to each member school. Any idea that the next big thing from Scott will be?
A: Most pressing is getting a DirecTV deal nailed down, but that’s not exactly a “big thing” so much as a necessary one. Scott has said consistently over the past few months that the conference isn’t looking to expand, so the Pac-12 probably won’t be leading the country into an era of 16-team superconferences. What he might look to do next is push for some significant reform in the NCAA, especially as the institution’s enforcement policies look more and more like a joke. Scott has been candid about the need for change in the past, something he reaffirmed again on Saturday.
Q: What is the latest news on RB Craig Lee commitment status? Also, we heard of the great recruiting class UCLA had this year but did not hear of any high school seniors that flipped their commitment. Were there any? Continue reading →
Ever since his hype as the nation’s top recruit, UCLA freshman Shabazz Muhammad has been almost universally regarded as a one-and-done — bound for the NBA Draft after his spending a season showing off his wares in college.
After the Bruins beat Arizona 74-69 in their last home game of the season, coach Ben Howland said he expected that to still hold true.
“I’m very much a realist now,” Howland said. “I knew going into this that it was a one-year deal. And it should be. He’s a lottery pick. He’s a top-five pick. When you have that going for you, it is absolutely the right thing for him. That was his last game at Pauley Pavilion, no doubt about it. Continue reading →