Shabazz Muhammad: Freshman Should Enter NBA Draft After Rocky First Year at UCLA

Mike Hoag@MikeHoagJrCorrespondent IIMarch 22, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02:  Shabazz Muhammad #15 of the UCLA Bruins guards on an inbounds pass against the Arizona Wildcats at Pauley Pavilion on March 2, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.  UCLA won 74-69.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Shabazz Muhammad is back in the news in a negative way.

Just when you thought the UCLA freshman was out of the press, a story breaks that indicates Muhammad’s father intentionally lied about his age.

Ken Bensinger of the Los Angeles Times reported that Ron Holmes, Muhammad’s father, intentionally lied about his son’s age while he helped transform him into a basketball phenom.

As a result, the UCLA Bruins programs corrected his birth date on their official online roster. Previously, the site listed his birthday as November 13, 1993, but now displays his true birth date—on the same day—in 1992.

Here’s a copy of his birth certificate (h/t LATimes.com):

Now, why would anyone want to do that?

Muhammad was bred for basketball by his father. Being one-year older than advertised gave him a potential leg-up on the young adults he was competing with throughout high school—although we can’t be sure how long ago Holmes made the switch.

He admitted it to Bensinger, though, after initially denying it.

This isn’t the first time Muhammad has made the news hours before a big game, either.

He was ruled ineligible by the NCAA just moments before the school’s season opener against Indiana State on Nov. 9, 2012. The rule violation he allegedly committed was against the NCAA’s amateurism rules, after he received money for visits to schools from a family friend.

UCLA appealed the suspension and it was uplifted less than a week later, allowing him to compete after missing just three games.

Muhammed is widely believed to be NBA-bound following his performance in the tournament. One mock draft has him going as high as fourth-overall to the New Orleans Hornets.

After this latest news surfaced, it would be hard to justify his return to UCLA. The tremendous amount of negative press that has engulfed him while at the program isn’t going to go away.

It’s best for a clean break. It’s best for him to get to the next level as soon as possible in order to cash in on his dream.

UCLA’s Friday night matchup against Minnesota could be the last for Muhammad at the college level if the teams falls to an upset. But there is no doubt, no matter where he is selected, that he should and will be heading to bigger things at the next level.

The only problem now is whether or not all of his skeletons are out of the closet. Increased media scrutiny and attention comes for an individual who makes the jump to superstardom and a huge payday in the NBA.

We’ll just have to see what happens.

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