Timberwolves forward Shabazz Muhammad was sent home from the NBA's annual Rookie Transition Program for a rules violation.
USA Today Sports reports that Muhammad, the 14th pick in the June draft, had a "female guest" in his hotel room without the prior approval of the program's administrative staff. That violation required his expulsion from the program, which he will need to participate in again next year. Muhammad will reportedly be fined as well.
"We have been made aware of the circumstances surrounding Shabazz Muhammad’s dismissal from the NBA’s Rookie Transition Program in New Jersey," Timberwolves president Flip Saunders said in a statement, according to the Star-Tribune. "The team fully supports the NBA’s rules and policies in all matters pertaining to this situation and we will abide by the league's action."
The Rookie Transition Program is designed to equip first-year players like Muhammad with the information they need to navigate the NBA lifestyle on and off the court. The program, held this week in New Jersey, traditionally features speeches from former players and other experts on subjects such as money management, ethics, social media, alcohol and drug education, and image maintenance. The program also coincides with a rookie photo shoot and an autograph session.
Muhammad, 20, posted images and video of himself posing for pictures, signing autographs and answering a questionnaire on his Twitter account this week but has not yet addressed his reported departure from the program.
The expulsion marks a rocky start to NBA life for Muhammad, whose one year at UCLA was full of off-court issues. After initially being declared ineligible for allegedly receiving improper benefits, Muhammad regained his eligibility on appeal, and an NCAA investigator was eventually fired over her handling of the case. He went on to earn All-Pac-12 first-team honors, but UCLA was quickly bounced from the NCAA tournament and a Los Angeles Times report revealed that Muhammad was exactly one year older than he had claimed. Once regarded as the No. 1 player in his high school class and a possible top-five pick, Muhammad slid to the Timberwolves, who selected him with the last pick in the lottery.
Timberwolves.com previewed the Rookie Transition Program, quoting Muhammad on what would be the key to success in the NBA following his turbulent time in college.
“Just carrying yourself the right way,” Muhammad said. “And making sure you’re nice to everybody, because you’re carrying out your brand and it will really help you out as a basketball player, and not only as a basketball player but as a person as well.”
Muhammad averaged 8.5 points and 2.2 rebounds in six games at the Las Vegas Summer League last month. Michael Beasley, Mario Chalmers and Darrell Arthur were all fined for an incident at the 2008 Rookie Transition Program that involved female guests and "the scent of marijuana." Chalmers and Arthur were sent home from the program.