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Shabazz Muhammad is 20, not 19, which will hurt his NBA Draft stock

Mar 22, 2013, 12:28 PM EDT

UCLA v Arizona State Getty Images

UCLA forward Shabazz Muhammad is the subject of an article by Ken Bensinger of the Los Angeles Times that has the college-basketball world buzzing, and the piece also raises several questions that will affect Muhammad’s NBA Draft stock.

Let’s start with the most tangible issue:

According to the UCLA men’s basketball media guide, he was born in Los Angeles on Nov. 13, 1993.

But a copy of Shabazz Nagee Muhammad’s birth certificate on file with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health shows that he was born at Long Beach Memorial Hospital exactly one year earlier, making him 20 years old — not 19 as widely reported.

How and when he lost a year of his life are unclear.

Asked about the discrepancy, [Ron] Holmes insisted his son was 19 and born in Nevada. “It must be a mistake,” he said.

Several minutes later, he changed his account, saying that his son is, in fact, 20 and was born in Long Beach.

NBA teams obviously prefer younger players, which is a big reason 22-year-old Damian Lillard slipped to No. 6 in last year’s draft. Advancing a year in age  will be especially questioned for Muhammad, who excels at posting up less physically advanced players. Is he just taking advantage of playing younger competition, or will that skill translate to the NBA?

The questions don’t stop there.

Because his son suffered from a mild case of Tourette’s syndrome, which can cause tics and other problems, Holmes told him he had to work that much harder.

Professional sports teams are often wary of players who are different, and in light of the difficulties the Houston Rockets and Royce White have had with each other, NBA teams might be especially leery of drafting a player they perceive as having any similarities to White. White’s and Muhammad’s issues are not necessarily similar medically, but here, the perception matters more than the science.

And that leads to, perhaps, the biggest issue:

Holmes’ life mission, though, has been to raise his three children to be professional athletes.

“If you’re a doctor, your kid is going to med school. If you’re a lawyer, he’s going to law school,” Holmes said. “I was an athlete. That’s what I could do for my kids.”

Holmes has pinned most of his hopes on the middle child, Shabazz.

Does Shabazz love basketball?

NBA teams want players who work out at all hours, who push aside other aspects of their lives and devote themselves to the sport, who want to win more than they care about anything else. Most players who are drafted love basketball, because the only way to reach even that level of the sport is to already care deeply about it. Those who don’t typically fall behind much sooner in the weeding-out process.

But does Shabazz love basketball enough that he’ll continue to work hard at it, or is he just trying to please his father? If it’s the latter, there’s a much higher risk Shabazz loses his passion, and that could derail an NBA career.

Between now and the June 27 draft, NBA teams will have the opportunity to investigate Muhammad themselves, but Bensinger’s article reveals a lot about what they might find.

  1. turdfurgerson68 - Mar 22, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    Why is this even a story??? 99.9% of it is pure speculation.

    Another slow day at the ProBBTalk studio apparently…

    • asimonetti88 - Mar 22, 2013 at 12:46 PM

      Pretty sure Mohammed’s dad said that his son was actually older than previously reported. Not sure how that is speculation.

      • turdfurgerson68 - Mar 22, 2013 at 1:05 PM

        His age, whatever it is, is the .01% ‘fact’ of the article.

        The rest is pure speculation/nonsense.

        Damn, is it that difficult to separate???

      • asimonetti88 - Mar 22, 2013 at 1:06 PM

        Ah yes, speculation on a blog. The horror.

    • pacific123ocean - Mar 22, 2013 at 12:51 PM

      Actually, it is a fact that he is 20 and not 19. But, I disagree that it will affect his draft stock….that part is speculation.

      • turdfurgerson68 - Mar 22, 2013 at 1:03 PM

        yes, that’s the .01% of the article.

        The rest is pure speculation/nonsense.

      • vikes69 - Mar 22, 2013 at 3:00 PM

        its a blog, if you dont want speculation dont read it. no one is forcing you to read this, some of us really enjoy these articles

      • turdfurgerson68 - Mar 22, 2013 at 6:53 PM

        Uh, calling this an ‘article’ is streching it…quite a bit.

  2. illegalblues - Mar 22, 2013 at 12:49 PM

    if he suffered from tummy aches would it affect his draft status????

  3. dgbk - Mar 22, 2013 at 12:51 PM

    I dont remember the last time a kid received so much bad press. from the visit scandal to the expensive book bag issue. now the questioning if he care about basketball smh.

  4. dalucks - Mar 22, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    Another example of NBA scouts showing their stupidity as the media showcases it to the world.
    At what point do scouts focus more on skill level instead of potential that a player might never reach.
    Here is a prime example, would the Hornets be better off with Damien Lillard and Tyler Zeller compared to Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers? While you keep waiting on potential, I would rather have a solid, consistant performance.
    Either teams should win now or be fired later.

    • borderline1988 - Mar 22, 2013 at 3:39 PM

      Kyrie Irving was drafted on potential; he was injured for most of his only college basketball season.

      But I do get your point.

    • chilomane - Mar 22, 2013 at 3:42 PM

      Austin Rivers is all hype he was bad in colleague at duke they blamed it on the system, you didn’t see coach k begging him back. In the pros he looked lost with no confidence before he had broke his hand terrible pick.

    • imthewiz77 - Mar 22, 2013 at 6:29 PM

      Davis and Rivers for sure. Tyler Zeller isn’t good and neither is Rivers. Both of them are fringe nba players. And yes I would take Davis over Lillard.

  5. westcoastredbird - Mar 22, 2013 at 1:36 PM

    He must have traveled to the Dominican Republic.

  6. beavertonsteve - Mar 22, 2013 at 2:21 PM

    Hmm. I wonder if he’ll run into any Guerdwich Montimere type legal issues since he was basically an adult from his junior year on.

  7. zacksdad - Mar 22, 2013 at 3:20 PM

    Wow read the whole LA Times article. The father seems very shady. He considers the lying about his sons age and his own criminal record irrelevant. He bullied the NCAA into listing a suspension. His income is questionable, owns properties that he refuses to tell what they are and they are not even in his name. He got a lady fired from the NCAA and then blamed her for “going after” his son.

  8. kb2408 - Mar 22, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    Lillard will win rookie of the year but I’d still take the potential of Anthony Davis. Remember, he’s only 19. Even with Lillard Portland’s not winning anything. In 2-3 seasons Davis will be a star and a franchise cornerstone. If I’m choosing between a star point guard and a star power forward, I’m taking the big fella.

    • imthewiz77 - Mar 22, 2013 at 8:49 PM

      Wow, I can’t believe the thumbs down you’re getting on this. Readers must really be clueless. If the draft were held again today there is no way that Lillard goes number 1 at all. I really like him, drafted him on my fantasy team and he’s killed it for me all year. However he doesn’t play D and the nba has a lot of good point guards today, there are few good 4s and 5s. If the draft were held again, Drummond prob goes first and Davis 2. Not a chance Lillard would get taken ahead of either player.

  9. tomtravis76 - Mar 22, 2013 at 10:43 PM

    What does this do to his HS records? Will his HS have to forfeit all of their wins, titles? Or did he still make the age cutoff his senior year at 19. It does happen that a kid can turn 19 his senior year after maybe spending 5 years in HS.

  10. afrikasportballagency2 - Mar 22, 2013 at 11:41 PM

    A reblogué ceci sur A .S .B . A.

  11. travisowain - Mar 23, 2013 at 9:59 AM

    i realize you stated that Muhammad’s and White’s mental disorders are not “necessarily medically similar” but comparing tourettes syndrome with having a generalized anxiety disorder that precipitates panic attacks is akin to comparing having a common cold to having cancer. Several successful NBA players (such as machmoud abdul rauf spelling???) have been diagnosed with tourettes and stating NBA front offices will be wary of Muhammed being “different” is ridiculous. Only an idiot would ever make such a correlation

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