Report: Shabazz Muhammad’s father took loan on son’s potential earnings

The saga just never seems to end.

A year after Shabazz Muhammad finished his UCLA basketball career, the controversy he left in his wake continues to swirl. On Wednesday, BuzzFeed reported that his father, Ron Holmes, had taken out a loan based on Muhammad’s future earnings — something that could again run foul of NCAA investigators.

Three months ago, Holmes pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit federal fraud. That came nine months after the Los Angeles Times revealed that Holmes had falsified Muhammad’s age, making him a year younger with the likely hope of furthering his basketball career.

The latest revelation appears in a court document from Holmes’ legal case obtained by BuzzFeed. In it, Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel R. Schiess writes that Holmes told the FBI on March 21, 2013, that he had been “living on a loan tied to his son’s projected earnings as a top NBA prospect.” Continue reading

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Ron Holmes pleads guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud

Former UCLA star Shabazz Muhammad’s father, Ron Holmes, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to commit federal fraud.

According the the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Holmes is cooperating in the investigation into his $2.5 million mortgage fraud scheme, one that involved helping straw buyers acquire loans on at least three different Las Vegas properites. Two bank fraud counts are being dismissed.

Holmes agreed to pay $1.7 million in restitution, and will be sentenced on March 13. He could face two to three years in prison, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Muhammad, the 14th overall pick in the last NBA draft, has scored eight points in 33 minutes this season.

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Shabazz Muhammad headed to Minnesota as No. 14 pick

In one of most unpredictable NBA drafts ever, Shabazz Muhammad stuck close to his spot in most mock drafts.

The Utah Jazz drafted the former UCLA standout at No. 14 and traded him to Minnesota. The Timberwolves had agreed to swap former Michigan point guard Trey Burke, the No. 8 pick, for the 14th and 21st picks.

The Pac-12 Co-Freshman of the Year’s fall to the bottom of the lottery was a disappointment when compared to the hype he generated on the prep and AAU circuits.

Among the names that went before Muhammad: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Steven Adams, Kelly Olynyk. Right after Muhammad was selected, the Milwaukee Bucks picked Giannis Antetokounmpo — the first Greek player drafted since 2000.

“I think he’s actually worth a higher pick than this,” ESPN announcer Jay Bilas said of Muhammad. “When you take the risk-reward decision, this is a good spot for him.” Continue reading

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Shabazz Muhammad’s father indicted on federal fraud charges

At this rate, Ron Holmes probably won’t be in New York for next month’s NBA draft.

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Holmes — the father of former UCLA star Shabazz Muhammad — was indicted Thursday on federal bank fraud and conspiracy charges.

Holmes, who also attracted controversy for falsifying his son’s age, is accused fraudulently acquiring mortgages to purchase — and later sell — Las Vegas properties between 2006 and 2009. The U.S. attorney’s office wants $2.5 million from Holmes.

He has pleaded not guilty, is detained as he awaits a detention hearing Friday afternoon.

Holmes isn’t new to this type of crime. The L.A. Times previously revealed that, in 1999, Holmes had pleaded guilty to using false bank statements and tax returns to acquire mortgages. He agreed to use only his birth name as part of his probation release conditions, and was sentenced to six months’ house arrest.

The best move may be for Holmes to cut a deal and pay up, especially with Muhammad on the cusp of an NBA career. The Pac-12 Co-Freshman of the Year, whose age Holmes also falsified, will make at least $1.5 million his first season should he become a lottery pick.

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Shabazz Muhammad not helping stock at NBA draft combine

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

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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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UCLA’s season ends with a whimper

AUSTIN, Texas — Without Jordan Adams, sixth-seeded UCLA closed out its turbulent season with a flatlined performance against No. 11-seed Minnesota.

The Bruins were the slated underdog all week long. Once the game actually began at the Frank Erwin Center, they did nothing but reaffirm that talk in a 83-63 loss. What started out as an ugly but mutually designed affair — the teams missed their first 12 combined field goal attempts — eventually turned into a Gophers rout.

Despite shooting 26.7 percent in the first half, UCLA stayed within 10 points at the intermission due to a surprisingly strong rebounding effort. The team ended up with a 42-36 edge on the glass, grabbing 19 offensive boards on 43 missed shots.

It wasn’t until Minnesota point guard Andre Hollins caught fire in the second half that the Bruins were completely sunk. The sophomore scored 23 points after halftime, and added nine rebounds to go with five assists.

Some notes from the game. Continue reading

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Minnesota 35, UCLA 25: Halftime update

AUSTIN, Texas — All week long, UCLA insisted it was ready for the big stage.

The No. 6-seeded Bruins embraced the underdog role as it opened the NCAA tournament. They would prove the doubters wrong, they said, just as they had done on their way to a regular-season Pac-12 title.

But just 20 minutes into their matchup against No. 11-seed Minnesota, UCLA barely looked like a team that belonged in the NCAA tournament. The Bruins shot 8-of-30 from the field before halftime as it gave up a 35-25 lead to the Gophers. Continue reading

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Muhammad’s father reportedly lied about son’s age

A Los Angeles Times report today revealed that UCLA star Shabazz Muhammad’s age is not 19, but 20.

The article explores how Muhammad’s father, Ron Holmes, carefully crafted a path to athletic success — one that included fudging his son’s year of birth.

Muhammad’s birthday had long been reported as Nov. 13, 1993, and was listed as such in the UCLA media guide. However, a copy of his birth certificate obtained by the Times lists it as Nov. 12, 1992. Continue reading

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Short-handed UCLA falls short of Pac-12 tourney title

Without shooting guard Jordan Adams, UCLA couldn’t do enough to beat Oregon for the Pac-12 tournament championship. As Adams sat at the end of the bench with a broken right foot, the Bruins lost 78-69 and failed to put together one strong, late rally.

UCLA cut the Ducks’ to two points with 12 minutes left to go on a 3-pointer by Larry Drew II, but proceeded to give up a 6-0 run over the next 90 seconds. It went the rest of the way down between six and 12 points — save for a 19-second stretch that saw the deficit shrink to four.

Oregon won its first tournament title since 2007. No team has won both the regular-season and tournament championships since the Bruins did so in 2008.

– UCLA’s seed for the NCAA tournament will likely drop due to Adams’ absence. The NCAA selection committee often account for injuries in their decision, and the Bruins being without their second-leading scorer could weigh heavily. In 2000, top-ranked Cincinnati missed out on a No. 1 seed when Kenyon Martin broke his leg. In 2009, St. Mary’s missed the tournament despite 26 wins because point guard Patty Mills hadn’t shaken off rust after breaking his hand. Continue reading

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