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UCLA's Ben Howland would like to see change to one-and-done

UCLA coach, sparked by Shabazz Muhammad situation, says players should be able to go to NBA right after high school, or have to stay in college two to three years, but knows rule change is unlikely.

March 05, 2013|By Chris Foster, Los Angeles Times
  • UCLA Coach Ben Howland says players like Shabazz Muhammad, right, should be able to go to the NBA right out of high school.
UCLA Coach Ben Howland says players like Shabazz Muhammad, right, should… (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles…)

UCLA Coach Ben Howland, resigned to freshman Shabazz Muhammad's leaving for the NBA after this, his first season of college basketball, would like to see a change in how the NBA handles drafting players.

"I would prefer the kids could go right after high school, but once they are in college, they have to stay three years, or two," Howland said.

The chance of that change being implemented? Howland knows it's the same as a snowball's in a warm place.

"I don't see it happening," he lamented. "There is no dialogue with the NBA."

Howland said the current situation works perfectly — for the NBA. "They get a year to evaluate kids in a program, against better competition," he said.

Does it work for the colleges? Not so much. Teams deal with a revolving door of top talent.

Howland said after Saturday's game that Muhammad would leave after this season, and he was surprised his statement drew much of a reaction.

Muhammad said he has not made a decision.

"He should go, he's a lottery pick," Howland said.

Most situations aren't as clear. "So many kids get messed up by this thing," Howland said.

Howland prefers the NFL's policy, which allows players to be drafted after their third year in college.

"That's why the NFL is a home run," Howland said. "Everyone leaves the kids alone. The kids are able to enjoy the college experience and graduate, or get close to graduating."

chris.foster@latimes.com

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