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Shabazz Muhammad still has work to do at UCLA

August 21, 2012|By David Wharton
  • Freshman Shabazz Muhammad will have plenty to do while most of his UCLA teammates are playing exhibition games in China.
Freshman Shabazz Muhammad will have plenty to do while most of his UCLA teammates… (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles…)

Just because blue-chip freshman Shabazz Muhammad can not accompany the UCLA basketball team to China doesn't mean that he will be taking the week off.

Muhammad is waiting to hear about his eligibility as the NCAA tries to determine if he received improper benefits from the brother of a high school assistant coach and a financial planner before arriving in Westwood.

While the Bruins play three games against college and pro teams in Beijing and Shanghai over the next seven days, he will remain on campus, taking classes and rehabilitating an injured ankle.

NCAA rules allow a player to participate in team activities for 45 days while awaiting word on eligibility, Coach Ben Howland said. The team decided to hold Muhammad out until the start of school in late September.

"That will begin the 45-day period," Howland said.

The Bruins hope the matter will be settled before that window closes and the season begins with a game against Indiana State on Nov. 9. In the meantime, Muhammad has been allowed to join a couple of individual skills sessions but has been forced to remain on the sideline during recent practices.

"Shabazz is a great teammate," guard Tyler Lamb said. "He's there supporting us every day."

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