This investigation concerns benefits paid by a family friend, and not the question of whether a player played professionally overseas as with Enes Kanter. And as much as the story was a surprise to us, chances are it was not a shock to Calipari, Self, Coach K, and Howland. Ron Holmes, Muhammad’s father, revealed that he disclosed the fact that family friend Benjamin Lincoln had paid for Muhammad’s plane tickets to take unofficial visits to Duke and North Carolina. Nothing shady or nefarious there. And assuming that this is all the improper benefits Muhammad received, his family should be able to repay the money and Shabazz would be suspended a few games. Same as with John Wall. If that is all that happened, it would be ludicrous for Kentucky to pull out of the Muhammad chase.
Face it. Kentucky will have plenty of defections to the NBA this year and should have an available scholarship for Muhammad. As with Kanter, there is nothing wrong with taking the chance that Muhammad can play in the spring and be a true game changer. Worst case scenario, the daily battles in practice will help improve players like Willie Cauley. If not, we start the #FreeShabazz campaigns all over again. John Calipari is a risk taker and a “all or nothing” guy. Having Shabazz for even half the season can shift the balance of power in the SEC and nationally to his Wildcats.
Now the other aspect of this case is the Adidas aspect. There are rumors that Ron Holmes is on the Adidas payroll, which Holmes flatly denies. It should also be noted that Muhammad’s sister, Asia, is a pro tennis player and has a deal with Adidas. To be honest, I really don’t see that as any type of violation because Holmes no doubt is involved with Adidas with his daughter. I would think it will take a pretty solid paper trail for the NCAA to deduce any wrong doing concerning Shabazz here, but once again, this is a NON KENTUCKY issue. UK is a Nike school and if anything, this may shy Shabazz away from the Adidas schools (UCLA and Kansas) and towards Kentucky.
I’m sure there will tons more to come out in the days and weeks ahead but for now, it looks like nothing may change with the recruitment of Shabazz.