Howland made the comments about Muhammad after UCLA's home finale, a 74-69 victory over Arizona on Saturday, saying that it was Muhammad's "last game in Pauley, no doubt about it."
"I'm sorry that I even -- I'm sometimes too honest because it would have been better to have answered that question differently the other day because I've never discussed it with Shabazz," Howland said to ESPN.com. "It's just kind of obvious when a kid is a lottery pick that they're going to be going to the NBA in this day and age."
Muhammad leads all freshmen with 18.3 points per game and is projected to be a top 10 NBA pick should he forego the rest of his elibigility and enter the draft.
Muhammad said he won't be making any decisions about his future until the season is over.
"I never said I wasn't coming back," Muhammad said. "I never said I'm not coming back even though I know I'm in a pretty good position draft-wise. But I'm looking at our team next year and we could be really good. I'm just worried about this season right now and whether I want to come back or not -- that'll be after the season."