UCLA Basketball: Shabazz Muhammad Situation Needs To Be Resolved Quickly

Mar 26, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; McDonalds High School All American forward Shabazz Muhammad (15) who was the winner does a dunk in the slam dunk contest during Jam Fest at the Gerald Ratner Athletic Center for the 35th McDonalds All American Game. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

For those of you don't know, top 2012 basketball recruit Shabazz Muhammad is currently standing ineligible at UCLA, under investigation for his connections with certain advisers who have been under NCAA scrutiny for some time. Here's what I wrote earlier about the situation at SB Nation and the specifics regarding Muhammad's ineligibility.

When Muhammad was being recruited, there were serious questions as to whether he would be eligible to play in college because of his connections to certain individuals. Muhammad's connections with advisers like Benjamin Lincoln and Ken Kavanagh were of serious concern. According to Jeff Goodman and Gary Parrish of CBS Sports, Lincoln is believed to have paid for two of Muhammad's unofficial visits to college campuses and Kavanagh funneled money to one of Muhammad's summer teams.

This can do nothing to quell the anxiety of UCLA fans who already have to worry about injuries to incoming frosh Tony Parker and Kyle Anderson, which would mean three of the four Bruins could be out of commission for their current China trip.

Can Ben Howland afford the loss of Muhammad this season? No. No, no, no. Jordan Adams is a good player and he could be a good Bruin down the road. But asking Adams and Tyler Lamb (who is most definitely a guard) to shore the majority of the minutes a the three is a huge downgrade from the gamechanging ability of the number one freshman in the country. This is the potential number one draft pick; you can't recover easily from losses like that.

Losing Muhammad robs UCLA of much needed athleticism and scoring ability at the three, a position of weakness for the Bruins since the Final Four days. It would force UCLA to relay on Adams, Lamb and force the Bruins to play the Wear brothers a lot at forward, which is good for offensive purposes but would be disastrous against most of the wing-oriented members of the Pac-12.

The Bruins need to return to the NCAA tournament for Howland to feel remotely safe in his duties as UCLA basketball coach, and Muhammad being out will do nothing but hinder those chances.

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