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November 10, 2012

Mailbag: When will Muhammad return?


MORE: Weekly Whispers

With the national signing period looming, Rivals.com basketball recruiting analyst Eric Bossi handles readers' questions in his latest mailbag.

Missing out

I know that he's not in high school anymore, but what's your take on the NCAA ruling Shabazz Muhammad ineligible at UCLA?
-- Johnathan, Los Angeles (via email)

Given that it's been known for a while that there were questions about the financing of some of Muhammad's unofficial visits, nobody should be surprised to see the class of 2012's No. 1 ranked player ruled ineligible. The unknown is just how long will Muhammad out.

I will say this, though, the NCAA has been under a lot of heat lately for how it handled eligibility decisions. It seems that decisions on eligibility drag on longer each year and that there are more suspensions for what look to be innocuous things.

Indiana loses freshmen Hanner Perea and Peter Jurkin for nine games because of a minimal donation made several years ago by their U.S. guardian. Jamal Fenton has to sit a few games for New Mexico because he received a discount he didn't even know he was getting and Akron loses a few players because of paperwork errors for which they had no responsibility.

All the while, we hear from the NCAA that they don't have enough to keep up.

I don't want to pile on because I've met some of the NCAA's enforcement people during my travels and I think they are good people who have a very tough job. However, I find it pretty funny that an organization that makes as much money as it does can't properly staff.

Maybe it's time the NCAA spends some of that money and hires more staff, or outsources the investigations they don't have the manpower to conduct.

The dotted line

Isaac Hamilton, will he sign in November or April?
-- SW6CFC (via message board)

Friday night, the 6-foot-5 shooting guard from the Los Angeles area dropped by UCLA for an unofficial visit. Saturday, he headed off to UNLV for his official visit. The five-star's plan all along has been to sign during the spring and he confirmed that to Rivals.com on Friday night via text message.

Could there be a change in plans? Sure. But, we're still expecting that he'll wait until the spring to sign.

Signing surprise

Do you see any surprises in store come signing day on Wednesday?
-- Darryl, Charlotte (via email)

The thing about the signing periods in basketball is that there really aren't many surprises. For the most part, we've known where most guys are headed, and unlike football, it's extremely rare to see signing day "flips."

Maybe one of the high-profile guys who is expected to sign late, such as Julius Randle, Jabari Parker or Jermaine Lawrence, signs early. But, there's been no buzz at all about any early-signing period surprises.

Embed on Embiid

Eric, what are you hearing on Joel Embiid? Just curious.
-- @JamminJayhawks (via Twitter)

As we've written, the near seven-footer at Gainesville (Fla.) The Rock is down to Florida, Kansas and Texas and he should have a decision by late next week.

Though Embiid is not yet in the 2013 Rivals150, he will be when they get finalized after the high school season and we've already moved him up to four-star status.

He's a gifted rebounder, has a good feel on the offensive end and is oozing with upside. The recruitment has been fierce, and at this moment, buzz on his recruitment has Bill Self and the Jayhawks making a bit of a move to the front.

On guard

Do you know if Missouri is looking for another guard or a big for the last 2013 spot?
-- @ShowMe_Hoops (via Twitter)

My guess is that the Tigers are looking for both. The Tigers would definitely like to get four-star point guard Stevie Clark from Oklahoma City on campus and they've been kicking the tires on California combo guard Brandon Randolph of late.

The Tigers have also been getting mentioned with several junior college big men, most notably Keanau Post from Southwestern Illinois College. More than likely, any additions to a strong class that already includes four-stars Johnathan Williams III and Wesley Clark and ranked three-star big man Torren Jones won't happen until the spring signing period.

Young one

What do you think about Nych Smith, Memphis (Tenn.) White Station 10th grader?
-- @901Magic4Life (via Twitter)

It's still really early, but we like what we've seen out of the jet quick 5-foot-10 sophomore, who plays for one of Memphis' strongest programs in Jesus Patino's White Station club.

He is a jitterbug with the ball, puts pressure on the defense and he's not scared of anybody on the floor. Looking ahead, it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility for him to eventually merit high-major attention and consideration for four-star status.

But he's just beginning his sophomore year and how he matures physically and develops his jumper and decision-making will have a big impact on where he ultimately ends up.



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