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Muhammad debuts in UCLA loss to Georgetown
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On November 20, 2012 @ 12:00 am In All,Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Nicole Auerbach, USA TODAY Sports
BROOKLYN, N.Y. – The most hyped freshman in the nation had completed the most anticipated debut of the 2012-13 college basketball season, but he wasn’t happy.
Shabazz Muhammad walked into the postgame news conference and sat between his coach and a teammate, keeping his gaze down on the table in front of him.
No smiles, even though he’d finally been able to play a college basketball game after months of being in eligibility limbo. No smiles, even though he’d scored 15 points. No smiles, because you don’t smile after your team loses to an unranked opponent.
Yes, even with the consensus top recruit of his class on the court, No. 13 UCLA fell to Georgetown in the semifinal of the Legends Classic Monday night. The Bruins will face Georgia, who lost to No. 1 Indiana earlier Monday, in Tuesday’s consolation game.
For Muhammad, this whole tournament will be bittersweet. Obviously, he’s glad to be reinstated, but losing to a team like Georgetown and missing an opportunity to face the nation’s top-ranked team hurt.
“It doesn’t feel good inside,” Muhammad said. “I really wanted to get a shot at them but knowing we really aren’t ready yet. We’re going to practice and get this together. We’re going to be a really good team.”
Muhammad knows what he needs most is time with his teammates. He said he was trying to learn how to gel with them on the court Monday night, his first real game experience after being ruled ineligible due to violations of NCAA amateurism rules just before UCLA’s season opener. Muhammad was reinstated Friday night, a week after the season officially began.
As part of Muhammad’s reinstatement, the NCAA required Muhammad to sit out three games (retroactively applied to UCLA’s first three games of the season) and pay back approximately $1,600 of what it deemed impermissible benefits related to unofficial visits he took to Duke and North Carolina during his recruitment.
But the week’s worth of games isn’t all Muhammad has missed. He couldn’t practice with the team most of the summer because of a high ankle sprain. He wasn’t allowed to go to China with … [For more on Shabazz Muhammad debuts in No. 13 UCLA's loss to Georgetown, click here.]
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