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UCLA Top Recruit, Shabazz Muhammad, Under NCAA Investigation

An NCAA investigation is preventing UCLA’s top recruit, freshman Shabazz Muhammad, from joining the team for an exhibition tour in China next week.

Scout.com reports that the governing body is looking into financial dealings among Muhammad’s family and financial advisors, and whether such contact jeopardizes the fantastic shooting guard’s ability to play college basketball.

It was reported earlier by cbssports.com that family friends and financial advisors Benjamin Lincoln and Ken Kavanaugh paid for two of Muhammad’s unofficial visits to colleges and helped fund his AAU team. The former could be an NCAA violation.

Muhammad obviously is anxious about what will come of this investigation. The Bruin Nation is holding its collective breath that Muhammad is not ruled ineligible to play or that there is no suspension as a result of the NCAA investigation.

The speculation in Westwood already has begun on how this might play out.  Seems there is a faction of UCLA supporters that believe  Muhammad could have to sit out to start the season, but not more than a few games. In that scenario, Muhammad would likely miss the opening of newly renovated Pauley Pavilion Nov. 9 against Indiana State but he could be back in time for the semifinals of the Legends Classic against Georgetown.

A prolonged suspension for Muhammad would be damaging to UCLA’s hopes of returning to contention in the Pac-12 after a series of down seasons. The Bruins made three straight Final Fours from 2006 to 2008, but they’ve missed the NCAA tournament two of the past four seasons and haven’t advanced past the opening weekend in the other two.

Optimism for UCLA is a result of the talented batch of newcomers Ben Howland landed. Muhammad, versatile forward Kyle Anderson, sharp-shooting Jordan Adams and talented big man Tony Parker join a team that returns a trimmed-down Joshua Smith and the Wear twins.

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