I certainly hope that Shabazz Muhammad is making the most of his opportunity to get an education from UCLA. I say this because it seems like the young man lacks some common sense. After facing ineligibility for taking money and barely getting past an NCAA investigation, Muhammad would be better off keeping a lower profile than he is right now.
Following his teams win over the No. 6 Arizona Wildcats in Tucson, Muhammad was being interviewed by Pat Forde who noticed that the freshman forward was wearing a Gucci backpack worth thousands of dollars. Something to carry his books and school supplies cost as much as my first car.
Muhammad came to UCLA after an intense national recruiting battle with some of the best programs in the nation. Everyone wanted the 6 foot 6 inch 225 pound scoring wing, who was considered a sure fire one-and-done lottery pick. He has been in front of the media non-stop since his junior year in high school at Bishop Gorman. Despite his experience with the limelight he has not learned the value of laying low. He is performing very well on the court, averaging 18.2 points and 4.8 rebounds per game, but is bringing just as much negative attention off the court.
UCLA compliance department has, in their opinion, cleared the situation:
“The UCLA Athletics Compliance Office has confirmed that men’s basketball players Shabazz Muhammad and Kyle Anderson (who also had a designer model backpack) received items in question as gifts from their respective families, and the matter is closed,” UCLA’s athletic department said in a statement Friday night.
Asia Muhammad, a professional tennis player, took to Twitter to defend her brother Shabazz. She tweeted directly to Forde that she and her mother gave the backpack to Muhammad as a birthday gift. “I have the original receipt if you need to verify that,” Asia Muhammad wrote to Forde. “[Shabazz] doesn’t need anything from anyone except his family. … You’re barking up the wrong tree on this one.”
Do not be surprised if the NCAA comes looking for that receipt. A smarter decision for Shabazz would be to get a regular backpack. Personally I always found Jansport backpacks to reliable and well priced.