Shabazz Muhammad

UCLA freshman Shabazz Muhammad year older than originally thought

8 Comments

On the day of UCLA’s NCAA tournament opener against 11-seed Minnesota in Austin an interesting story on Ron Holmes, the father of freshman wing Shabazz Muhammad, was published in the Los Angeles Times.

According to Ken Bensinger’s story the father of the Pac-12 Co-Freshman of the Year, initially stated that Muhammad was 19 and born in Nevada only to admit that he was actually 20 years old and born in California.

How big of a deal is the age? Not sure the age itself is a huge deal, given the popularity of decisions such as reclassifying and going to prep school for a year. But there is the issue of physical maturity, as the extra year can give an athlete an edge over his new classmates.

What makes this particular situation intriguing is what Holmes says via text after admitting to his son being a year older than originally disclosed.

Asked about the discrepancy, Holmes insisted his son was 19 and born in Nevada. “It must be a mistake,” he said.

Several minutes later, he changed his account, saying that his son is, in fact, 20 and was born in Long Beach.

Holmes expressed concern about disclosure of his son’s true age and his own criminal record and questioned whether either was newsworthy. He followed up with a text message.

“Bazz is going to blow up in the NBA lets team up and blow this thing up!!!” Holmes wrote to this reporter. “I’m going to need a publicist anyway why shouldn’t it be you. We can do some big things together.”

The story focuses on the path the family has taken to reach this point, which includes details on how unofficial visits were paid for, with the goal being to make sure Muhammad lands in the NBA.

There’s the question of whether or not the NCAA had all of the information (re: unofficial visits) when determining the outcome of Muhammad’s case, which essentially fell apart due to the boasts of the boyfriend of a former NCAA investigator. If not, could this be an eligibility issue the governing body chooses to revisit?

To say the least the story makes for interesting reading (and conversation) on the day that UCLA will play its biggest game of the season to date. And with the number of young contributors that Ben Howland has to rely on, this is a distraction the Bruins certainly don’t need.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Rick Pitino: ‘We should be penalized … but not this team’

Rick Pitino
(AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
Leave a comment

One of the biggest storylines of Saturday’s college basketball schedule had everything to do with a team that no longer matters in the championship picture.

Less than 24 hours after being informed that the school would be imposing a postseason ban that will leave the Cardinals out of the ACC and NCAA tournaments, No. 19 Louisville tipped off against Boston College, and they did so without leading scorer Damion Lee, who is battling a knee issue.

How would the team respond to the decision — the despicable, shameful decision — that the university’s president made?

Well, it seems.

The Cardinals jumped out to a 19-2 lead in the first eight minutes and cruised to a 79-47 win over an overmatched Boston College team in the Yum! Center.

And head coach Rick Pitino, after the quote, said exactly what everyone is thinking.

“We should be penalized, no question about it,” he said. “But not this team. But the NCAA didn’t make that decision. We made that decision.”

He’s totally right. The school sacrificed the season — and the only shot that a pair of fifth-year seniors would get to play in the NCAA tournament — to protect the school, the brand and the bottom-line moving forward. Like I said earlier, it’s despicable.

But credit the Cardinals for responding.

Because they still have something on the line. They’re just a game out of first place in the ACC, and while an ACC regular season title isn’t a shot to play in the ACC or NCAA tournament, it’s still a banner that would probably mean more to Damion Lee and Trey Lewis than any league title has meant to a Louisville player before.

Oklahoma State without Jawun Evans, questionable moving forward

Oklahoma State guard Jawun Evans (1) goes up for a shot between Kansas forward Jamari Traylor (31) and forward Perry Ellis (34) in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Stillwater, Okla., Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016. Oklahoma State won 86-67. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Leave a comment

Oklahoma State’s star point guard was not in the lineup on Saturday against No. 13 Iowa State.

Evans injured his shoulder in the Cowboys’ loss at Texas Tech on Wednesday and was ruled out of Saturday’s game.

According to the school, his official status moving forward is questionable. The Pokes are just 11-11 on the season and likely need to earn the Big 12’s at-large bid to get into the NCAA tournament. It makes sense to let him get healthy.

Evans was averaging 12.9 points, 4.9 assists and 4.4 boards this season, but he had been arguably the best point guard in the Big 12 during league play, averaging 15.6 points and 5.6 assists.