Muhammad's impact on UCLA

With NBA lottery talent, freshman makes Bruins a Final Four contender

Updated: November 19, 2012, 3:31 PM ET
By Jay Bilas and Chad Ford | ESPN Insider
Shabazz MuhammadAP Photo/Damian DovarganesShabazz Muhammad immediately makes the Bruins into a legitimate contender.

During college hoops season, Jay Bilas and Chad Ford will start the week off by addressing a big question, evaluating NBA prospects on the rise and looking ahead to next week.

The discussion: How does UCLA change with Shabazz Muhammad?

Jay Bilas: On Friday, the NCAA finally stopped the bizarre saga of Shabazz Muhammad and reinstated him to play college basketball. In what many termed a selective prosecution, the player himself had no rights or ability to defend himself, and UCLA was the party that chose to admit a violation in order to seek reinstatement and get him playing sooner. Muhammad admitted no wrongdoing, but that matters not to the NCAA. Now, a young man takes the court known more for NCAA violations than for his considerable talent, even though the violation was simply about who was allowed to pay for his visits to institutions of higher learning.

After navigating the NCAA's kangaroo court, UCLA finally gets Muhammad on the court, and he is a difference maker. UCLA is a good team without him, one that can win significant games and challenge for the top of the Pac-12, but not one of the top national title-contending teams. With Muhammad, UCLA can play with anyone.


To read more from Chad Ford and Jay Bilas on UCLA's potential for the 2012-13 season, you must be an ESPN Insider.

Jay Bilas

College Basketball analyst

Chad Ford | email

Senior Writer, NBA Insider