Minnesota v UCLA

Father of former UCLA guard Shabazz Muhammad sentenced to 37 months in prison on fraud charges

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When freshman forward Shabazz Muhammad made the decision to leave UCLA and enter the 2013 NBA Draft, the general feeling was that the Bruins would be able to move on from what was at times a tumultuous season for the player and program. An NCAA investigation left Muhammad in limbo at the start of the season, resulting in his missing the first three games of the season.

Once on the court, the Pac-12 Co-Freshman of the Year was talented enough to help lead the Bruins to the Pac-12 regular season title. With Muhammad, a first round pick of the Minnesota Timberwolves, off the to the professional ranks and a new head coach (Steve Alford) in charge UCLA would move forward.

Unfortunately, a day before the Bruins were to take on No. 1 Florida in the Sweet 16 it was reported that Ron Holmes, Muhammad’s father, took out a loan based upon his son’s future earnings. Holmes, convicted on a charge of conspiracy to commit bank fraud mail fraud and wire fraud, was sentenced to 37 months in prison Thursday but it’s what multiple media outlets found in legal documents Wednesday that could be of concern to UCLA.

The NCAA’s 432-page rule book doesn’t permit loans based on athletic skill or a future as a professional athlete. The rules also don’t allow athletes or their families to accept benefits from agents that aren’t also available to the general student body. An agreement with an agent before an athlete’s eligibility is exhausted is a violation too. In 2012, the NCAA expanded the definition of an agent to include financial advisors and marketing representatives.

Also of note in the story written by Nathan Fenno of the Los Angeles Times is the fact that UCLA’s compliance office reported the loan to the NCAA when it learned of the loan, and according to the report the NCAA did not investigate the matter.

If the NCAA were to decide to look into the arrangement it would likely need testimony/cooperation from Muhammad, with the former player likely having to answer questions as to whether or not he knew of the loan when his father applied for it. With his career at the school having come to an end, there really wouldn’t be much of a reason for Muhammad to cooperate with an investigation into the loan.

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: