Shabazz Muhammad: Misrepresentation About Age Shouldn't Lower Star's Draft Stock
So, apparently, UCLA star Shabazz Muhammad is one year older than we previously thought.
Then again, the man can play basketball.
An investigative piece by the Los Angeles Times on Friday revealed that Muhammad's father—Ron Holmes—lied about his son's age. Muhammad is reportedly 20 years old and was born in Long Beach. He is not 19 years old and was not born in Los Angeles.
Who knows what Holmes was attempting to accomplish by lying about his son's age. It's possible that he figured it would give Muhammad a leg up on his competition. We've seen this a lot in baseball, when foreign players' ages are misrepresented to give them more time to develop in hopes of making the big leagues.
Either way, Muhammad's stock in the 2013 NBA draft should not be hurt by the recent news.
Muhammad averaged 17.9 points and 5.2 rebounds in 31 minutes per game this season. The swingman not only shot 44 percent from the floor, he showed range by knocking down 38 percent of his three-point attempts.
More than anything, Muhammad's skill set translates nicely to the NBA. He's an explosive player who can attack the rim and make interior defenders look foolish. He's also a solid rebounder for his size.
Should Shabazz Muhammad's draft stock drop because of his age?
Beyond that, Muhammad is a heady, driven player who has the ability to lead his team down the stretch. His intensity matches those moments when the game is on the line. He's a vocal leader with a killer instinct who isn't afraid to get in the face of a teammate if he isn't living up to his expectations.
Now, when determining potential at the next level, age is certainly a factor in the equation. There's no doubt about that. On the other hand, Muhammad already has exhibited the skill set to be an impact player in the pros.
Plus, it's not like he's an old prospect. Even at 20 years of age, Muhammad still has plenty of untapped potential. If he can develop his jump shot, he could become an imposing player in the NBA.
If Holmes did lie about Muhammad's age to potentially give him an advantage over his competitors, the plan may have backfired. It could end up hurting Muhammad's draft stock now.
But it shouldn't. The youngster has shown enough to warrant a top-10 selection in the draft. It's as simple as that.
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