Shabazz Muhammad

Report: Shabazz Muhammad cleared to play at UCLA

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According to Los Angeles Times reporter Baxter Holmes, UCLA freshman Shabazz Muhammad has been cleared to play by the NCAA.

Holmes, who broke the news through his Twitter account, had previously reported that UCLA’s hearing with the NCAA regarding Muhammad’s eligibility had ended around noon on Friday.

The NCAA released a statement regarding Muhammad’s reinstatement:

The NCAA and UCLA have resolved the eligibility case of Shabazz Muhammad. UCLA acknowledged amateurism violations occurred and asked the NCAA on Friday afternoon to reinstate Muhammad. The university required the student-athlete to miss 10 percent of the season (three games) and repay approximately $1,600 in impermissible benefits.

The 6-foot-6 Muhammad has already missed UCLA’s three games and will be allowed to play immediately, which will be Nov. 19 against Georgetown.

Last Friday, Muhammad was ruled ineligible for amateurism rules violation. The NCAA had accused Muhammad of accepting travel and lodging during three unofficial visits to two schools.

According to the facts of the case, which were agreed upon by the university and the NCAA staff, Muhammad accepted travel and lodging during unofficial visits to member schools. NCAA rules, which member schools create, state that student-athletes cannot receive benefits based on their athletic ability. NCAA amateurism rules are in place so that when student-athletes step onto the court, they are competing against other student-athletes who have met the same standards.

UCLA is currently 3-0, but adding Muhammad is clearly Ben Howland’s biggest win of the season. Muhammad, one of the nation’s top recruits, was part of UCLA’s top-ranked recruiting class, alongside point forward Kyle Anderson.

The Bruins now add another scorer, although fellow freshman Jordan Adams, has been impressive so far, averaging 24 points per game. Muhammad is an explosive scorer with a great motor. He has the ability to force his way into the lane and finish above the rim.

Muhammad should make his debut against Georgetown on Monday. The game will take place in Brooklyn.

Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: