On the eve of UCLA’s first NCAA tournament game, Ken Bensinger of the LA Times is reporting that star freshman Shabazz Muhammad has been lying about his age.
Muhammad is 20, Bensinger reports, not 19 like what was printed in the UCLA media guide. And he has his birth certificate to prove it.
The story describes how Muhammad’s dad Ron Holmes meticulously groomed his son from a young age to be a basketball star. When Bensinger comforted Holmes about the age discrepancy, things got incredibly awkward:
Asked about the discrepancy, Holmes insisted his son was 19 and born in Nevada. “It must be a mistake,” he said.
Several minutes later, he changed his account, saying that his son is, in fact, 20 and was born in Long Beach.
Holmes expressed concern about disclosure of his son’s true age and his own criminal record and questioned whether either was newsworthy. He followed up with a text message.
“Bazz is going to blow up in the NBA lets team up and blow this thing up!!!” Holmes wrote to this reporter. “I’m going to need a publicist anyway why shouldn’t it be you. We can do some big things together.”
Muhammad was a highly-rated recruit coming out of high school, but his one and only college season has been disappointing.
He was suspended for the first few games of the year because of an ultimately pointless NCAA investigation about improper benefits. When he finally started playing, he was a productive player but not the dominant force everyone expected.
This age thing is certainly a weird turn, but it’s too early to tell what it means in the long run. It shouldn’t reflect poorly on Shabazz if his dad has been fudging his age since he was little. But who the heck knows what’s really going on here.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.