Reports are beginning to surface indicating that UCLA Bruins‘ freshman standout Shabazz Muhammad will not travel with the team for their foreign exhibition tour in China.
Muhammad, who is widely regarded as one of the best incoming freshman in all of college basketball, is the staple for a loaded Bruins’ class that could instantly catapult UCLA back into the national discussion.
The Bruins will leave for China on Aug. 22, but now it appears that Muhammad will stay back in California.
Why? Well, the NCAA is investigating financial dealings between Muhammad’s family and friends. According to the report, NCAA officials have spoken with the 6-foot-6 freshman, but not yet with his family members.
The first sign of this potential investigation surfaced way back in February, when CBSSports.com‘s Gary Parrish and Jeff Goodman dug into a connection with financial advisers, Benjamin Lincoln and Ken Kavanagh. According to their report, Lincoln may have paid for two of Muhammad’s unofficial visits during his recruitment, while Kavanagh established a connection through the forward’s AAU program, Dream Vision.
While the NCAA continues to investigate this matter, Muhammad will remain in Los Angeles and continue to attend class, while head coach Ben Howland the Bruins will take their three-game trip to China.
While their is no immediate cause for concern, UCLA and their fans do know the importance that Muhammad holds looking ahead to the 2012-13 season. Returning veterans, along with incoming freshmen Kyle Anderson, Tony Parker, and Jordan Adams, mold a solid squad that can not only to threaten for a Pac-12 title, but possibly emerge as one of the elite squads in college basketball this season.
Aside from the reports, there is no further word on the NCAA’s investigation.
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