UCLA's Muhammad effect

What is the Bruins' ceiling this season, with and without their star freshman?

Updated: November 16, 2012, 12:08 PM ET
By Miles Simon | ESPN Insider
Shabazz MuhammadStephen Dunn/Getty ImagesThere is a limit to how good UCLA can be as long as Shabazz Muhammad is a spectator.

Every year in Westwood, Calif., there are high expectations for the UCLA Bruins basketball team, and this season is no different. Ben Howland brought in the No. 1 recruiting class in the country, a class that features two of the top five overall players in Shabazz Muhammad and Kyle Anderson. Add to the recruiting class a nice core of returnees in David and Travis Wear, Norman Powell, Tyler Lamb, Josh Smith and North Carolina transfer Larry Drew II, and you can see why Bruins fans are excited about this season.

Of course, that enthusiasm has been tempered a bit as the school awaits final word on whether Muhammad will be able to play this season. (UCLA's appeal of the NCAA decision to declare Muhammad ineligible will be heard Friday.)

With Muhammad out to start the season, the complexion of the Bruins is completely changed. Let's take a look at what UCLA's ceiling is without Muhammad, and how good they could be if he is declared eligible to play.


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