UCLA freshman Shabazz Muhammad is heading to the NBA. Coach Ben Howland on Saturday night announced that Muhammad had played his last game at Pauley Pavilion in their 74-69 victory over No. 11 ranked Arizona.
It was assumed that the likely NBA lottery pick would leave college after one season, and Howland confirmed that rumor after his team moved into a first place, Pac-12 Conference tie.
UCLA will finish the rest of its regular season on the road with games next week against Washington State and Washington.
After the game, Howland revealed his star players departure in no uncertain terms:
“That was his last game in Pauley, no doubt about it.”
In his final home game, Muhammad scored 18 points, his season average. Shabazz Muhammad helped his team claim victory with several game-sealing free throws in the last seconds of play.
Shabazz recently said he was NBA ready but unsure of his own decision, telling reporters:
“It’s still a long season of basketball. We don’t know yet. I kind of thought about it. I just thought about the big win we’re going to have and how important this win was for us against Arizona.”
Fans at UCLA are definitely sad to see Muhammad leave. As the game drew to a close, UCLA fans began to chant “one more year.”
Players at UCLA are no strangers to jumping ship. Both Kevin Love and Jrue Holiday made the same decision.
Refusing to hold out hope this time around, Ben Howland said:
“I’m very much a realist now. I knew going into this deal that this was a one-year deal, and it should be. He’s a lottery pick. He’s a top-five pick. When you have that going for you, it is absolutely the right thing.”
Shabazz Muhammad said of UCLA fan support:
“The fans here are great. I’ve enjoyed myself this whole year. I’ve been going through a lot this year with injuries and just getting experience at the college level. I’m really happy I came here and represented UCLA because it’s a great school and I just gained a lot of experience coming here. It’s great.”
Do you think Shabazz Muhammad heading to the NBA is the right decision?