Shabazz Muhammad sent home from rookie program for having female in hotel

shabazz muhammadMinnesota Timberwolves rookie Shabazz Muhammad was looking to work on developing his game at the NBA’s Rookie Transition Program this week as he nears the start of his first NBA season. USA Today Sports is reporting that Muhammad will have to wait until 2014 to complete the program, as he has been sent home for violating a rule.

A person who spoke under the condition of anonymity told USA Today that Muhammad brought a female guest into his hotel room on Tuesday evening. Just hours prior to being kicked out, he and nearly 50 other rookies had been read a list of rules for the program. One of the rules stated that players are not allowed to have guests unless they are approved by program administrators.

The Rookie Transition Program is a four-day course that introduces rookies to life in the NBA with customized seminars and guest speakers. It ends on Friday. The Timberwolves can’t be pleased with Muhammad, as he will be missing out on valuable information that he will have to wait until next year to gather.

Mario Chalmers and Darrell Arthur were sent home from the program in 2008 after administrators smelled marijuana and discovered women in their hotel room. They were fined $20,000 each, and Muhammad is also expected to have to pay a fine for his failure to complete the program.

Shabazz Muhammad lied about his age, so TruTV gave him an asterisk (Picture)

Shabazz Muhammad age

Shabazz Muhammad was exposed Friday for having lied about his age to appear younger and thus more desirable as an NBA prospect. Muhammad was born on Nov. 13, 1992, but his birthday in UCLA’s media guide listed him as born in 1993. That makes him 20 and not 19 as has been stated.

When Muhammad was introduced by TruTV Friday during UCLA’s NCAA Tournament game against Minnesota, a graphic listed his age as 20 and included an asterisk to note the controversy.

The story of Muhammad’s true age was revealed in a Los Angeles Times column written by Ken Bensinger. In the column published Friday, Bensinger exposes Muhammad’s father, Ron Holmes, as a man intent on beating a system that is rigged against collegiate athletes. According to Bensinger, Holmes, when faced with the information, denied that his son was really 20 years old and born in Long Beach, Calif., and said Shabazz was 19 and born in Nevada. Holmes changed his story — presumably after being presented with evidence to the contrary — and then reportedly tried to buy out Bensinger by seemingly offering to give him exclusive scoops in exchange for keeping the truth about his son’s age private.

Changing his son’s age served a two-fold purpose: It allowed Muhammad to compete against younger, less developed players, which made it easier for him to look more dominant and therefore become more desirable to colleges. Being young and dominant is also attractive to NBA scouts evaluating prospects. The revelation about Muhammad’s age changes the thinking; would he have been as dominant had he been playing against competition his age?

Muhammad was initially suspended by the NCAA before the season began for allegedly receiving improper benefits in the form of recruiting trips being paid. He got off after a letter leaked that made it seem like the NCAA was unfairly targeting him, but there wasn’t much of a question about him taking the money.

If you read the entire column, and combine it with what we know about Muhammad from before the season began, it’s hard to question how much his family took in improper benefits.

Holmes says his son choosing to play at UCLA “was strictly a business decision.”

If you read between the lines, it’s not difficult to understand what he means. As the Times column states, Adidas began sponsoring Muhammad’s AAU team around 2010. The apparel companies get involved with these players during high school (or earlier) and can begin funneling money to families/coaches/advisers through AAU teams. Where did Muhammad choose to go to school? UCLA, which is an Adidas school, naturally. And what apparel company sponsors Muhammad’s sister, Asia, who is a fledgling professional tennis player? Yup, you guessed it.

When Holmes says choosing UCLA was a “business decision,” you know exactly what he means.

Image via @cjzero

Ben Howland: Shabazz Muhammad is leaving UCLA for NBA

shabazz muhammadBen Howland confirmed Saturday what everyone already knew: freshman Shabazz Muhammad is leaving UCLA after the season and heading to the NBA Draft.

The Bruins beat Arizona 74-69 Saturday in their final home game of the season. It was Senior Night at Pauley Pavilion, and though Larry Drew II was the only player honored, Muhammad may as well have been, too.

“I knew going into this season that his was a one-year deal. He’s a top-five pick. That was his last game in Pauley,” Howland said after the game, per the Daily Bruin’s Sam Strong.

“This wasn’t meant to be an announcement for Shabazz. I’m just being honest. … Just keeping it real,” the coach added, according to CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish.

Though Howland believes Muhammad is gone after the season, the Bruins’ top scorer is not ready to make that announcement.

“It’s a long season. We don’t know yet,” Muhammad said regarding his future, per Strong.

After sitting out the team’s first three games of the season waiting to be cleared by the NCAA, Muhammad joined the team and became its top scorer and 3-point shooter. UCLA has had a fair season based on expectations, but they still have two regular-season road games, the Pac-12 tournament, and the NCAA Tournament to leave a stronger legacy. Maybe Howland making the announcement can have a Ray Lewis-like impact on the team.

Shabazz Muhammad was investigated for potential violation because he has a Gucci backpack

shabazz muhammadHow misplaced are the NCAA’s priorities? They’re so bad that UCLA actually “investigated” star player Shabazz Muhammad on Friday after it was pointed out that he wears a Gucci backpack. Seriously.

Muhammad, who is a freshman and one of the top players in the country, had 23 points in the Bruins’ 84-73 win over Arizona in Tucson on Thursday. Yahoo! Sports’ Pat Forde wrote a column about Muhammad leading the win and made the Gucci backpack a central focus of his writing. He spent a few paragraphs pointing out how Gucci backpacks generally cost at least $1,000, which is quite a sum for a college student.

Forde’s column resulted in UCLA actually looking into the backpack, which, for all anyone knows, could have been a $20 knockoff.

“The UCLA Athletics Compliance Office has confirmed that men’s basketball players Shabazz Muhammad and Kyle Anderson (who also had a designer model backpack) received items in question as gifts from their respective families, and the matter is closed,” UCLA’s athletic department said in a statement.

Muhammad’s sister, Asia, took particular offense to Forde’s column. She tweeted directly at Forde several times to express her displeasure with him making that the focus of his column.

“I read your condescending remark about [Shabazz] leaving with a Gucci backpack after beating Arizona. That was a birthday gift from myself (his sister) and his mother. I have the original receipt if you need to verify that. [Shabazz] doesn’t need anything from anyone except his family. I understand you’re a very distinguished writer, congrats on that, but you’re barking up the wrong tree on this one.”

You can see her tweets below:

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