Prized UCLA basketball recruit Shabazz Muhammad will be held out of the Bruins' upcoming trip to China, as the NCAA investigates whether he received improper benefits during his recruitment.
NCAA rules permit a player to participate in team activities for a 45-day period while the team awaits word on eligibility, and UCLA head coach Ben Howland has decided to postpone the start of that 45 days until Muhammad is scheduled to start school in late September. In the meantime, Muhammad has been participating in a couple of individual skills sessions, but has had to sit out practices.
The improper benefits in question stem from alleged financial dealings with the brother of a high school assistant coach and a financial planner before Muhammad joined the Bruins.
The 6'6, 222-pound guard was the No. 2 recruit in the class of 2012 after starring at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas. Muhammad also hauled in a slew of awards after his senior season, including being a McDonald's All-American team selection, the McDonald's All-American Game MVP, a Jordan Brand High School All-American team selection, Naismith prep player of the year, and being named Mr. Basketball USA.
The Bruins leave for China on Aug. 22 and are scheduled to play three exhibition games.