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Ben McLemore says Shabazz Muhammad getting sent home from NBA’s rookie program was ‘very disappointing’

Aug 18, 2013, 12:30 PM EDT

Kings McLemore McCallum Basketball AP

As recently as January, UCLA’s Shabazz Muhammad was higher on many mock draft boards than was Ben McLemore of Kansas. Things changed in the months leading up to the draft, and for a variety of reasons, McLemore ended up going seven spots higher when all was said and done.

The two were linked throughout last season in conversations about who would ultimately be the better NBA two guard, though, so it wasn’t exactly a question out of nowhere when McLemore was asked what his reaction was to Muhammad being sent home from the NBA’s Rookie Transition Program for the most basic of rules violations.

From Gary Bedore of (via HoopsHype):

Shabazz Muhammad of the Minnesota Timberwolves was actually dismissed from the program for violating a rule and allegedly bringing a female guest into his hotel room.

“Very disappointing,” McLemore said, asked his reaction. “After they (were) telling us the rules, what not to do, for him to do that … it’s just unbelievable after they just explained the different rules to us.

“Hopefully he’ll learn from his mistakes. Hopefully that won’t stop him from being the basketball player who he is, just keep playing, going with his career.”

This was the issue all along with Muhammad’s breaking of the rule — it wasn’t that the violation was at all egregious, but his cavalier attitude in ignoring the rules which were, as McLemore noted, “just explained” to everyone is what makes it all so frustrating.

The good news for Muhammad is that the team isn’t imposing further discipline, and he’ll have a fresh start once training camps open at the end of September. But for those downplaying Muhammad’s infraction, McLemore’s reaction should tell you just how ridiculous it was.

  1. snoopy2014 - Aug 18, 2013 at 1:34 PM

    I agree with McLemore, but as an NBA player, he’s going to have to quickly learn not to be suckered by the media into talking negatively about other players. In some instances, it’s warranted. But criticize too many of your fellow players, and you’ll make enemies very quickly.

    “No comment” is the best phrase young new NBA players can learn, because you know the media’s going to try to get sound bytes out of them.

    • adamsjohn714 - Aug 18, 2013 at 2:42 PM

      I doubt he has much to worry about when criticizing Shabazz. It doesn’t look like he’ll be an NBA player for long. The guy stinks.

      • gandalf47 - Aug 19, 2013 at 1:15 PM

        I was going to write the same thing. This is one of those every once-in-a-while players who are gifted with God-given talent, combined with an arrogant, egotistical sense of entitlement and the feeling that normal rules don’t apply to THEM.

        I watched as the UCLA fiasco unfolded, with missteps all around. Af first I thought Shabazz was an innocent pawn in this whole debacle, but now I see that he is part of the problem. Most folks say that he is young and immature, both true, and that he will “grow out of it”. Unfortunately, the competition in the NBA is not like that in high school and college – it is fare more intense. It takes a prime athlete using ALL of his gifts to excel and to help his team win. Those who feel that they are shoe-ins for the Hall of Fame and a hand full of rings often end up at the end of the bench, eventually playing for team after team who feel that THEY can turn him around and fulfill his destiny as an all-time great. It has happened many times before. One current example of this phenomenon is Andrew Bynum, who has all the potential in the world, is supremely gifted with basketball talent, but who behaves in an immature fashion, and disregards social rules as well as not taking basketball seriously (ticketed for parking his Ferrari a handicapped zone, TWICE! And those were just the times he was caught). He was injured for almost his entire career with the Lakers (with the exception of one breakout year in which he showed his potential on the court, but STILL couldn’t resist taking ill-advised three-pointer (twice)s, or committing foolish technical fouls once a game was out of hand to be expelled (twice), or not joining his team in time-out huddles while pouting for being pulled from the game (many times)). The Lakers wisely traded him to Philadelphia in the trade that brought Dwight Howard to LA. That didn’t wok out for the Lakers for a variety of reasons, but Philadelphia never got ONE game out of him, before him bolting to Cleveland to collect his way too large checks THERE. Shabazz looks like he is poised to have a similar career path unless someone can get “into his ear” and make him realize that he is not only throwing away tens of millions of dollars over his career (however long THAT may be) but his chance to make his mark on the NBA in a way that many players with lesser natural talent cannot, but who would give up most of their salaries to be able to do so. When I see a young player act like this, it is usually because he has heard nothing but praise his whole life, and just expects it to continue when he gets to the NBA, without having to work for it. Look at Kobe Bryant – he was given superior God-given talent, but has worked harder than anyone else in the NBA to IMPROVE each year, and he has the bona fides to show for it. Currently, he is rehabbing from an injury that is often career-ending, but me, and many like me, fully expect him to return to the NBA, whether at the beginning of the season, or later, still better than most players, and maybe as good as he used to be, adjusted for age. If Shabazz were the player in question, his career (whatever that turns out to be) would be over, since he has not demonstrated the desire to work for anything – just what is given to him, based on his basketball skills. Very sad!

      • bigmeechy74 - Aug 20, 2013 at 12:10 AM


    • longtallsam - Aug 18, 2013 at 4:26 PM

      You may be right in a lot of instances, but in this case, I think is good that he did. It lets us know hom clearly the rules were spelled out, and that McLemore understood the importance of following the rules. As did apparently everyone else, except Mohammed.

      Also, I am tired of, every time this incident comes up, the writers always comment that the infraction wasn’t that “egregious”. Well, if it wasn’t important, the organizers of the event, wouldn’t have made it one of their rules. They are running the camp, they can impose whatever rules the wish, and the participants should be smart enough to comply. Apparently, all were, except for Mohammed.

  2. thomaskouns - Aug 18, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    I don’t necessarily agree with the rule but if 60 other young men could follow it so should have Muhammed.

    A huge part of being a successful NBA player is focus and dedication (working on your game in the off-season, watching film, weight training, practicing your shot after a bad game even when you rather not).

    Though this is only one incident, given Muhammed’s college issues (lied about age, investigated dealings with his agent, got mad when another UCLA player made winning shot amongst other things) it’s fair to be concerned over his future.

    Hopefully he gets it together.

  3. klsmith9 - Aug 18, 2013 at 3:26 PM

    It’s football season who cares about these overpaid gym rats?

    • Kurt Helin - Aug 30, 2013 at 7:19 PM

      Says the guy who came to the site and commented on a post….

  4. greg285 - Aug 18, 2013 at 3:56 PM

    This guy is a complete knucklehead and nothing but trouble! The Wolves haven’t had much luck since KG left town and took his leadership with him!!!!

  5. imakcds - Aug 18, 2013 at 10:50 PM

    Muhammad was. imo, a disgrace to the great legacy of John Wooden and UCLA, someone who, in no way other than his athleticism, embodied the UCLA Tradition.
    I believe Ben Howland succumbed to Alumni Pressure in pursuing and accepting athletes like Shabazz, and I believe Shabazz was the last nail in Howland’s coffin. a catch 22, if you will.

  6. scottheis82 - Aug 19, 2013 at 12:44 AM

    Personally I have been in the military and employed by two of the largest banks in the world, all I can say is that these type of rules are not exclusive to any one profession. the guy made a mistake in judgement but it doesn’t mean he’s a terrible person, he just needs to take this as a growing experience and be glad he still has a job. In the professional and government sectors he’d have been sent packing.?

  7. dezglobal - Aug 19, 2013 at 9:23 AM

    I woulda got sent home too….. lol

  8. malcolmaaron2 - Aug 20, 2013 at 3:42 AM

    You can’t just tell kids (especially the rich and popular ones) to stop screwing for a few days without at least explaining the benefits, such as increased stamina(?). The only way these types of rules usually work is if the participants are not allowed to leave the building (unless under supervision) until the program is over, which shouldn’t be too difficult for a program that lasts only like three days.

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