Former UCLA Bruins coach Ben Howland announced in March that he expected freshman forward Shabazz Muhammad to be “one and done,” and he was right. Muhammad announced Tuesday that he will enter the 2013 NBA Draft.
The 20-year-old Muhammad was the Pac 12 co-freshman of the year after leading the Bruins in scoring with 17.9 points per game, which was fourth-best in the league. He was also named to the all-league first team and helped UCLA to a 25-10 record. With the help of Muhammad, the Bruins were the Pac-12 regular season champions and finished runner-up in the league tournament. However, they did not advance far in the NCAA tournament, losing to Minnesota in the second round.
“I am so thankful for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play at UCLA and will always be proud to be a Bruin,” Muhammad said in a statement released by the school. “From a young age, I have dreamed of playing in the NBA, and I believe that this is the right time for me to move the next level.”
The 6-foot-6 Muhammad was the prized recruit in Howland’s highly touted recruiting class. But Muhammad was forced to begin the season on the bench in street clothes amid an NCAA investigation. He was required to sit out three games and repay $1,600 in impermissible benefits, after the NCAA and UCLA found that he accepted travel and lodging during three unofficial visits to North Carolina and Duke.
However, after sitting out those three games, he lived up to the expectations that had been placed upon him. Muhammad scored in double figures in 31 of 32 games and scored at least 20 points in 14 games.
Muhammad thanked Howland, who was fired last month after 10 years at UCLA, in his statement saying it was an “honor” and “privilege” to play for him.
Muhammad is expected to be a lottery pick when the NBA draft is held on June 27.