Context is everything. When we started this whole nightmare of our players being investigated we were told three-fourths of our #1 ranked freshman class was under investigation. We heard all kind of baseless rumors that UCLA must have cheated, with CBS leading a charge with "facts" like a quote from a rival coach that included we must have cheated since "I mean he turned down Kentucky." (And if you read CBS today, you would think we just got Blake Arnet eligible, not a top five freshman.)
It turns out that Tony Parker was briefly, if at all, under investigation. The accusations against him were quickly dismissed. While we can't be a 100% sure on the accusations against Kyle, it seems more a product of his Dad's long summer league coaching career. And by long we mean Kyle's whole life. But again the NCAA found nothing wrong. Speaking of Kyle's Dad here are a couple quotes from him:
"It was a long and tedious process that, in my eyes, wasn't necessary, but we cooperated," said Anderson's father, Kyle Sr. "I had no doubt that he would be cleared because there was nothing for them to find."
Kyle Sr. was reluctant to go into any details, because Coach Howland asked him not to do so while the NCAA is still investigating Shabazz. It does not take much to see the bitterness of a man who feels he was unfairly accused.
"I know there were rumors about my family receiving stuff," Kyle Anderson Sr. told USA TODAY Sports in a telephone interview. "I actually moved out of my apartment and live with one of my fraternity brothers so I can save money so I can travel to see Kyle play. For all the rumors that said I received $250,000, ... I am a 50-year-old roommate."
. . . Anderson Sr. said NCAA officials told him they were not at liberty to tell him why they began investigating his son.
Anderson Sr. said all the information the NCAA requested was given to the association in early August.
"Ben (Howland) really doesn't want me to go into depth about what the NCAA did because they still have to worry about Shabazz (Muhammad) being cleared," Anderson Sr. said. "He has asked me not to do anything to bash the NCAA. I don't want UCLA to have an uphill battle with the Shabazz situation."
And that is just it. It is all rumors on even WHAT the NCAA was investigating. But the bottom line is Kyle is cleared. UCLA did nothing wrong with Parker or Anderson. UCLA is being unfairly tainted by accusations that are turning out to be groundless on our program.
And while the cynics will point that Shabazz has not been cleared. Let's make a couple points. Before UCLA took Shabazz he was under investigation for things that happen not involving UCLA (and ironically involving at least one other school, Duke, that the NCAA should be investigating for jewelrygate.) As NBC puts it:
And while that is big news, it's not exactly a surprise; no one really expected Anderson to be held hostage by the NCAA this season. . . .
Because Muhammad is the difference maker. Muhammad is the guy that takes UCLA from a top four team in the Pac-12 to, potentially, a top ten team nationally. Anderson is the reason that UCLA will be competitive for the Pac-12 title, but Muhammad is the guy that makes this group a national title threat. He's that good.
And until there is a ruling on Muhammad's eligibility, any speculation about what UCLA will be this season is more or less useless.
Make a decision already, NCAA. This kid - and this team - doesn't deserve to be held hostage.
This is one of the better cynical takes. I think it has a point although Howland must win this season regardless. However, I think everyone needs to realize how good Anderson is, regardless of Shabazz. As his home state hall of fame coach Bob Hurley put it:
The McDonald's All-American will go down as one of the best players to ever pass through one of New Jersey's and the nation's perennial powerhouse high school programs
"He's the most complete player to ever play at the school," longtime St. Anthony head coach and Naismith Hall of Famer Bob Hurley said the night of the 2012 TOC final. "In a time when we've had some really good ones, his overall game and just what he's done over these last two years is remarkable."
Or as Rant sports, another group that did a better job then CBS in this whole mess, stated:
Anderson was a Top-5 national recruit and a McDonald's All-American just like Muhammad. Having been coached at one of the nation's top schools in St. Anthony (NJ) by one of the nation's best in Bob Hurley Sr., he'll be ready to contribute immediately.
At 6-9, he might be the most versatile of the four freshmen. He plays more like a point forward than a power forward with his skills as a gifted passer and slasher. At the McDonald's All-American game, he nearly had a triple-double with 13 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. For good measure, he added four steals.
He's a matchup nightmare that can overpower smaller guards or be too quick for bigger forwards. He could share point guard duties with Larry Drew II or be on the wing as an extra creator. At his size, he might even be used in the post to draw defenders away from David Wear, Travis Wear or Josh Smith.
I'll just go ahead and say this. He could remind Bruins fans of Magic Johnson. That's not saying he's the next Magic but his skill set definitely resembles the Hall of Fame point guard.
Anderson is special in his own right. Anderson deserves to play the season without a taint over him as he was completely cleared. And cynics like CBS will have to deal with the fact that, yes, potentially great players want to go to UCLA and no UCLA did not cheat to get them.