In the high-stakes world of college basketball, players dream of making it to next level and the potential millions to be earned. For UCLA freshman hoops standout Shabazz Muhammad, however, it appears that his father has been grooming him for the pros in a shady fashion.
According to a report from the Los Angeles Times, the 6-foot-6 Muhammad has been under the tutelage of dad and former USC guard Ron Holmes. Holmes is credited with making sure that his son attended the best camps, worked with pro-level trainers and even put together a team that would make his son stand out during scouting reports. The father also lied about his son’s age, giving him an advantage over his competition all vying for coveted scholarships.
Although UCLA’s men’s basketball guide lists Muhammad’s birthday as Nov. 13, 1993, the Los Angeles County Department of Health’s records state he was born a year earlier. Holmes told the Times that his son was born in Nevada, but later changed his story and said Muhammad was born in Long Beach. After taking note of his disclosure and perhaps his own criminal past, Holmes sent a message to a Times reporter asking to recant the story.
“Bazz is going to blow up in the NBA lets team up and blow this thing up!!!” Holmes wrote to the reporter via text message. “I’m going to need a publicist anyway why shouldn’t it be you. We can do some big things together.”
Making athletes out of his children has since become the family business for Holmes, who pushed his eldest child into tennis and is attempting to make a star out of his youngest in basketball. With middle child Shabazz, Holmes is looking to finally cash in. “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 to the Times. “I was an athlete. That’s what I could do for my kids.”
Muhammad is not expected to remain with UCLA beyond this postseason NCAA tournament push, and is an projected lottery pick in this year’s NBA draft.
Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times