This should be a story about a rookie at summer league. This should be a story about basketball. This should be simple. It isn't not quite. Let's start simple then at least with the rookie's first game in Las Vegas with a hot Saturday afternoon the air conditioning on full blast in the Thomas & Mack Center. The rookie's high school coach is in the building perched in the last row of reserved seats behind the rookie's bench. He's eager to sing the rookie's praises to talk about what a pleasure it was to coach him. He's soliloquizing about the rookie's family and how wonderful it is about how he developed in college about how much better he looks even now. The rookie's college coach calls a few days later. He didn't get to see last night's game on TV he says. Did the rookie play well? Sure I tell him and we're off. It's the same spiel what wonderful parents what a wonderful kid. And his game oh his game. This doesn't sound like just another rookie swingman. His work ethic is "outstanding." He's "very coachable." He developed so much and he'll keep developing and oh did I mention what a great teammate he is? It still seems simple enough. This is a great kid right? It sounds like it at least until we learn the coaches' names: Grant Rice from Bishop Gorman High School and Ben Howland from UCLA. Maybe you’ve heard of the former. You've definitely heard of the latter. Which means … The rookie is Shabazz Muhammad of course and this just ceased to be simple not when he's the most controversial player picked in 2013's lottery a player accused of being the opposite of everything you just read. Abandon simple; this story did years ago. Suddenly the coaches' monologues no longer sound like innocent praise. Suddenly there's cause to wonder if these men might be trying to bombard the world with sing-songy positives in the hope that everyone will forget the games Muhammad sat out during an NCAA investigation the accusations of being a poor teammate his fudged age his father's crimes. But what else can they say? They're doing their jobs. They care about Muhammad. They're loyal.
Muhammad settles in, looks for fresh start in NBA
Fox Sports West | Jul 26