Flea Shabazz Muhammad!

Leave a comment

John Calipari has Jay-Z, now Ben Howland has Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Well, he doesn’t exactly “have” Flea, but he can stand near Flea while the bassist wears his homemade “Free Shabazz Muhammad” t-shirt. Students in the crowd were reportedly wearing more professional-quality shirts with the same message, but isn’t it just so much more Flea to scribble on a shirt with magic marker before playing the national anthem in Pauley Pavilion? Way to make an entrance.

Fortunately for those assembled, Flea also wore pants, and socks. On the appropriate appendages this time. (I’m not linking it, this is a family site, but you know what I mean.)

USA Today found the first photos of Flea in action, posting them at 5:00 a.m. this morning, alongside a short article.

The UCLA faithful are anxiously waiting to see prized recruit Shabazz Muhammad hit the court.

Bruins fans will have to wait longer after the NCAA ruled the freshman ineligible for Friday night’s opener earlier in the day.

Apparently among the fans pining for a glimpse of Muhammad is rock musician Flea. The Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist was on hand to play the national anthem before the Bruins faced Indiana State at newly renovated Pauley Pavilion.

Flea displayed a message for the NCAA on his T-shirt, which read “Free Shabazz Muhammad.”

Muhammad, the prized recruit in a UCLA class that many ranked No. 1 in the nation, was declared ineligible for an undisclosed number of games after the NCAA determined he “accepted travel and lodging during three unofficial visits” to two schools during his recruitment.

Flea’s motives for the shirt are unclear, but he wouldn’t be the only person upset by the NCAA’s ruling.

What’s next? John Cougar Mellencamp wearing a “Free Peter Jurkin” tee?

Oh no, on second thought, that wouldn’t be a good idea at all.

Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.

POSTERIZED: Wyoming’s Josh Adams takes flight

Josh Adams
Associated Press
Leave a comment

Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.

After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.

Video credit: Wyoming Athletics

Defensive progress will determine No. 4 Iowa State’s ceiling

Monte Morris
Associated Press
Leave a comment

Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.

Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.

Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.

Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.

Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.

But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.