Shabazz Muhammad Remains Ineligible, Future With UCLA Bruins In Jeopardy

LAWRENCE KS - DECEMBER 02: Head coach Ben Howland of the UCLA Bruins reacts after a foul during the game against the Kansas Jayhawks on December 2 2010 at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence Kansas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

One of the nation's best freshmen might not play this season at UCLA.

For as talented as Shabazz Muhammad is, there were a ton of questions and uncertainty that came along with his recruitment. The UCLA Bruins were long seen as the favorites to land him for a multitude of reasons -- the exposure of Los Angeles, being an Adidas school, Ben Howland's relationship to the family -- and Muhammad eventually sealed the deal on National Singing Day last spring.

With the start of practice just two months away and the Bruins preparing for a trip to China, they will be without the key cog in the highly regarded recruiting class. Here is Adam Zagoria with the latest on 2012's top-rated guard.

UCLA freshman wing Shabazz Muhammad is ineligible for the team's upcoming trip to China while the NCAA investigates the improper benefits he received during his recruitment.

"Since the investigation won't be totally clear, they wanted to hold him out for China," a source with direct knowledge who requested anonymity because he is not permitted to comment on the ongoing NCAA investigation told SNY.tv.

UCLA and the Muhammad family remain confident that Shabazz will be cleared by the time the season begins, but time isn't exactly on his side. And for as good of a player as he is right now, he's going to need a lot of time in practice to get used to the speed and physicality of the college game.

It'll definitely be a story to keep an eye on. For all of the hope and positive momentum coming out of Westwood right now, the loss of Muhammad for the season would be a devastating blow.

For more on UCLA athletics, check out Bruins Nation. Head over to Pacific Takes for all-things Pac-12 related.

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