On the first night of the college basketball season, UCLA enters its first practice with questions of whether or not their two top recruits – Shabazz Muhammad and Kyle Anderson – will be able to play this year, as they are both under NCAA investigation.
Shabazz Muhammad, one of the nation’s top freshmen, has faced the brunt of it and for the first time, someone close to the 6-foot-6 guard has spoken about against the alleged violations.
In a report by the Los Angeles Times, Baxter Holmes, the NCAA is looking into money Muhammad received to pay for unofficial visits, as well as Ken Kavanagh, a New York financial planner, who partially funded Muhammad’s summer team.
According to the report, Kavanagh made a personal loan to Muhammad’s AAU team, Dream Vision, when the team lacked funds. Clayton Williams, the team’s coach, said he has known Kavanagh for decades and told the L.A. Times that “hasn’t said two words to Shabazz.”
The report also goes on to discuss the payments for the unofficial visits to Duke and North Carolina, however Williams explained that those were all cleared with both of the school’s compliance offices.
The piece went on to discuss a Cadillac Muhammad was seen driving and even the house he and his parents, Ron Holmes and Faye Muhammad live in:
Muhammad also raised eyebrows by driving a cream-colored Cadillac Escalade. Persons who know the family, including Williams, say it is a high-mileage 2005 model that was a gift Shabazz received last year from his sister Asia, a professional tennis player who made the down payment.
Asia Muhammad has struggled with injuries since joining the professional tennis tour in 2006, but she has more than $100,000 in career earnings.
Public records and interviews with acquaintances indicate the family has financial resources. Holmes and Faye Muhammad reside in a 4,400 square-foot, four-bedroom home in a gated community about 10 miles south of downtown Las Vegas. Holmes Consulting LLC, a business that lists both Holmes and his wife as officers, is registered at the same address.
The family does not own the home, Nevada records show, but Holmes has made a living as a real estate investor since the mid-1980s.
Muhammad picked UCLA back in April over USC, Duke, Kansas, and others. According to Williams, picking UCLA gave Muhammad a chance to build the program back up. The NCAA began investigating Anderson back in September and head coach Ben Howland still hasn’t heard from the NCAA about a decision.
Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne