Shabazz Muhammad declares for the 2013 NBA Draft

USA TODAY Sports

After an up-and-down season, the polarizing UCLA freshman is widely projected as a lottery pick in this year's draft.

UCLA freshman forward Shabazz Muhammad has declared for the 2013 NBA Draft, the school announced on Tuesday. This was a move long expected.

Muhammad, a 6'6, 225-pound small forward, was the Bruins' leading scorer, averaging 18 points and 5 rebounds on 44% shooting this season. He is widely projected to be a lottery pick in this year's draft.

The consensus No. 1 recruit coming out of high school, his freshman season got off to an uneven start after the NCAA suspended him for amateurism violations. The uncertainty of his situation, as well as the circus surrounding embattled UCLA coach Ben Howland, helped contribute to a slow start when he was eventually cleared.

As the year went on, he became more comfortable in Howland's deliberate offense and showcased the nose for the basket that made him such a prized recruit.

Nevertheless, controversy seemed to circle Shabazz, as the day before the NCAA Tournament, a report came out indicating that his parents had lied about his age throughout his adolescence, saying he was one year younger than he actually was.

As a result, Shabazz will likely be one of the more polarizing prospects in this year's draft. An undersized small forward without great athleticism, he'll need to prove that he can be more than just a scorer at the next level. However, his ability to score from all over the floor will likely prevent him from falling out of the top 10.

More from SB Nation:

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CelticsBlog: We are Boston

2013 NBA mock draft: An overly exuberant scout's take

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NBA lottery watch: Bobcats, Magic in battle for last

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