Expectations. Some can live up to the hype, while others may falter.
For UCLA freshman Shabazz Muhammad, those expectations were through the roof and with it came an increased potential for the Bruins this season. Well, after an NCAA investigation and a few bumps as a team early on, the Bruins and Muhammad most notably, appear to rolling.
UCLA enters conference play and the month of January riding a five-game winning streak and Muhammad has quickly become the team’s leading scorer on the year. Through ten collegiate games, Muhammad is now averaging 19.6 points per game, but what’s been most impressive is his play during UCLA’s current streak.
Just last week, Muhammad earned National Player of the Week honors by the United States Basketball Writers Association. He scored 27 points in the Bruins’ statement victory over Missouri, his second such offensive output in as many games. After scoring 20+ points in just one of his first six games at UCLA, Muhammad appears as if he is coming into his own, having reached the plateau in four consecutive games now.
Despite beginning the season as a ranked team, the Bruins were initially grounded following continuous hype in the preseason. However, it may not be all that long before that hype once again rises up and that’s thanks in large part to Muhammad’s recent production.
Arizona has been the cream of the crop in the Pac-12 throughout the non-conference schedule, but UCLA may be joining them if they can keep up their stellar play. Head coach Ben Howland, who many believed to be on the hot seat heading into 2013, is certainly hoping so.
League action begins for UCLA on Thursday night as the Bruins play host to California.
Paul Seaver is the College Basketball Network Manager at Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS