UCLA freshman star Shabazz Muhammad has decided to enter the NBA Draft after this season, Bruins coach Ben Howland said Saturday night.
Muhammad, a Bishop Gorman High School product, scored 18 points and had a key rebound late in the Bruins’ 74-69 victory over No. 11 Arizona in Los Angeles.
“I knew going into this deal that this was a one-year deal, and it should be,” Howland said of Muhammad. “He’s a top-five pick. When you have that going for you, it’s absolutely the right thing for him.
“That was absolutely his last game in Pauley Pavilion. I know that, he knows that, we all know that. We want the season to go as long as possible for him.”
Muhammad and his father, Ron Holmes, said after the game that he hasn’t made a decision about his immediate future.
“It’s still a long season of basketball. I’m just going to enjoy this win,” he said, adding that he heard the fans weighing in with chants of “One more year!” late in the game.
“The fans here are great. I enjoyed myself the whole year. I gained a lot of experience coming here,” he said.
It long has been assumed that Muhammad would leave college after one season, but Howland confirmed the obvious after his team moved back into a tie for first place in the Pac-12 Conference.
The Bruins finish the season with road games next week at Washington State and Washington, meaning Saturday was the final home game for UCLA.