According to Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com UCLA freshman wing Shabazz Muhammad is still a week away from returning to the court after suffering a high ankle sprain.
UCLA head coach Ben Howland told Parrish that Muhammad, one of the top incoming freshmen in America, suffered the injury in a pickup game following the first workout that he took part in.
“It was our first workout,” Howland said in between games here at the Nike Global Challenge. “Actually, we were finished working out, and [the players] started playing five-on-five. He sprained his ankle playing then. He’s been out ever since.”
Muhammad is one of the four high-profile newcomers that the Bruins welcome to Westwood this season, with sharpshooter Jordan Adams, point forward Kyle Anderson and forward Tony Parker being the others.
Muhammad expected to be back soon is good news for UCLA, not only from the injury standpoint but also because of their August trip to China.
That’s valuable on-court time, from the ten practices they get before departing to the actual games in China, for the Bruins from a chemistry standpoint.
That should serve them well not only in Pac-12 play (fellow expected contender Arizona also has an off-season trip) but also with a non-conference slate that includes Missouri, Texas, San Diego State and the Legends Classic (Georgetown, Georgia and Indiana).
Of course Howland had no info in regards to possible eligibility concerns, simply stating that the compliance department is dealing with that.
Raphielle is also the assistant editor at CollegeHoops.net and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — He’s back.
For the first time this season — and for the first time in more than a year that he hasn’t been hampered with some kind of foot or ankle injury — Marcus Paige donned a North Carolina jersey, and it didn’t take him long to find the form that made him the NBCSports.com Preseason National Player of the Year.
On the first Tar Heel possession, Paige came off of a ball-screen, drove the lane and found Kennedy Meeks at the rim for a layup. Not 30 seconds later, he came off of a down screen and buried a three. Paige would finish with 20 points and five assists as No. 9 North Carolina put together a fairly resounding win over No. 2 Maryland in the Dean Dome on Tuesday night, winning 89-81.
Paige finished 7-for-12 from the floor and 4-for-5 from beyond the arc, hitting a number of threes in the second half that helped hold off a Maryland push sparked by their own all-american point guard, Melo Trimble.
Trimble was erratic early on, committing three turnovers in the first six minutes and eight on the night, but it was his play at the end of the first half and early second half that kept North Carolina from blowing their doors. At one point, Maryland was down 32-19 and in danger of getting run out of Tobacco Road.
In total, Trimble finished with 23 points and 12 assists, hitting four big threes during that stretch. He either scored or assisted on 11 of Maryland’s first 12 second half field goals.
As good as Paige was, the bigger story may actually be Joel Berry II. He took two dumb threes in the first half — which played a role in Maryland being able to make this a game — and he missed a few free throws late, but overall he was terrific. He finished with 14 points and five assists, making 3-of-5 threes and turning the ball over just twice. He’s clearly beat Nate Britt out at the point guard spot, and his ability to take pressure off of Paige as a secondary ball-handler and playmaker is huge.
(More to come from Chapel Hill…)
North Carolina is hosting No. 2 Maryland in a heated contest in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Terps sophomore guard Melo Trimble is playing very well and part of his performance was dropping North Carolina’s Nate Britt with a crossover in the second half.
(H/T: The Cauldron)