|Solomon Hill thinks Shabazz Muhammad should just say, ''Screw it, I'm signing with an agent'' and leave college now. (AP)|
This is some next-level, stealth kind of advice here from a savvy college vet.
Arizona senior forward Solomon Hill has some philosophical beliefs when it comes to the NCAA and eligibility. And he thinks it's time UCLA freshman Shabazz Muhammad told the NCAA where it can stick it.
Hill told USA Today the game will soon be changing for freshmen who are deemed temporarily ineligible by the NCAA. This wait-and-see approach won't be tolerated too much longer, not when future NBA guys can sign with agents and train for the draft instead of waiting at the whim of NCAA investigations that take too long. (He doesn't mention overseas play for one year, for money, a la Brandon Jennings, but that remains an option, too.)
It should be noted, again, that Hill plays for Arizona, a Pac-12 rival of UCLA's and the team considered to be the strongest contender at the top of the league with the Bruins this year. So Hill's making a rational case on behalf of Muhammad all the while trying to undercut the talent and strength of UCLA. Brilliant play.
[Hill] said he sees the day coming soon when some of the best high school players start skipping college and choosing instead to hire an agent, trainer and nutritionist and work out until the following June's NBA Draft, rather than risk facing investigations like freshmen Kyle Anderson of UCLA and Nerlens Noel of Kentucky experienced and UCLA's Shabazz Muhammad continues to endure.
"If you don't want to be investigated, just don't go to college. If you take money early, make the decision that you're not going to attend college and you're going to seek training. There's nothing bad with that decision."
Former North Carolina All-American Sean May, the MVP of the 2005 Final Four, said he would recommend that the vast majority of elite high school players attend college, even if only for one season, otherwise it is "a huge risk they are making with their futures."
But Muhammad is an exception.
"I would say he shouldn't play because every time he steps on a floor from this point on he will be getting evaluated and critiqued," May said in an email. "If he has an opportunity to be a top pick without school, as much as I think it would be wrong for a lot of players, I think it might be the right call for him."
So there are two voices telling Muhammad to take down the posters in his dorm room and head back home to Las Vegas. They're not the only ones either, I'm sure. Muhammad's no doubt had people get to his circle and tell him to bail on college ball at this point. (To be clear, Hill makes it known he has no idea if Muhammad/his family took any money to attend UCLA.)
At this point, with no definitive suspension, is it worth it for Muhammad to twiddle his thumbs?
Hill added, "Why take classes? Go get a trainer. You're going to be a top-five pick. Do what you love to do. … I'm pretty sure there are a lot of guys out there that went to a program and took some type of benefits. You're telling him that he has to go to college and now you're going to sit him down because he did something? He is going to be a millionaire."
It's not a new perspective for Muhammad or talented freshman to bypass college in the one-and-done era, but it is a relevant take given the increasing attention and scrutiny directed the NCAA's way over this stall tactic. On Tuesday, the Muhammad family released a statement that was laced with anger at the Monolith in Indianapolis.
It's pragmatic thinking, but there's this barrier and burden of commitment that Muhammad and his family aren't quite willing to break just yet. Still, you wonder how much longer his family is willing to wait. We've never had a recruit this good be forced to wait this long into his freshman year without a say on when he'll be able to play.
If he goes, the college game will be robbed of a supreme talent, but you won't be able to blame him for turning the tables on the NCAA and doing what's best for he and his family, which is what this has been about from the beginning.