Charles Carmouche

Charles Carmouche’s fifth-year isn’t exactly the spirit of the rule

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Charles Carmouche only played seven games last season, but he could have played many more.

He was suspended after Memphis got back from their trip to Maui, missing seven games in total before he finally saw the court again. Carmouche apparently got a massage during the trip and charged it to his hotel room. When he refused to pay for it, the massage became an NCAA violation. Thus, Carmouche was suspended.

After returning for three games, Carmouche once again was forced to the bench with a knee injury. It was classified as tendinitis and by mid-January, he was cleared to return to action. But head coach Josh Pastner let Carmouche decide when he wanted to come back. Carmouche didn’t, and instead opted to sit out and appeal the NCAA for a medical waiver.

And, surprisingly enough, he won.

On Wednesday afternoon, Carmouche was granted a fifth-year of eligibility by the NCAA. He was rewarded despite the fact that he missed seven games as the result of a suspension stemming from an NCAA violation and the second half of the season due to a knee injury that wasn’t serious enough to keep him from being cleared to play.

Making matters all the more confusing is that Carmouche has now graduated — he spent his first two years at New Orleans and the last two with Memphis, where he was allowed to transfer without sitting out when the UNO program dropped their sports to Division III — meaning that, if he were to transfer, he would qualify for the graduate student waiver.

Think about it like this: Carmouche committed an NCAA violation that a) sent him to the bench for seven games early in the season, b) took him out of favor with Pastner and c) took him out of the Memphis rotation. Because of that mess, he decided to sit out the rest of the season, which resulted in the NCAA rewarding him with the ability to transfer anywhere in the country?

That’s not exactly the reason either of those rules were created.

I’m as strong of a proponent of giving NCAA athletes rights and taking away all of the connotations that come with being a “student-athlete”. Pay ’em! Let ’em transfer freely! Don’t sign an NLI! I’m with it.

But this? This just doesn’t feel right to me. Carmouche shouldn’t be rewarded for having a season ruined because he committed a violation. (For those that don’t know, you can only receive a medical redshirt if you play in fewer than 30% of your team’s games, which usually means the magic number is nine.) And in doing so, he’ll only give credence to the argument that advantages given to athletes will be abused.

Oh well.

Anyone on college basketball’s waiver wire looking to pick up a veteran guard?

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

Skal Labissiere has not been cleared by the NCAA

Kelly Kline/Under Armour
Kelly Kline/Under Armor
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While the timeline surrounding Cheick Diallo’s eligibility has made headlines for months now, another elite recruit at a blue blood program is still awaiting word on whether or not he will be allowed to play college basketball this season.

Kentucky center Skal Labissiere, the No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2015 and a potential No. 1 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, has not yet been cleared to play this season. His guard, Gerald Hamilton, confirmed as much to ESPN earlier today.

“Not yet,” Hamilton said. “We’re just trying to get everything squared away. They are asking a few questions.

“They haven’t cleared him, but we’re sticking with our faith. There’s no real concern about anything from the Kentucky compliance people.”

Labissiere has more red flags than you can count, almost all of them pertaining to Hamilton. It was the worst kept secret in high school basketball that Hamilton more or less had Labissiere for sale. It’s why he played three different AAU programs and two different high schools in four years. Hamilton runs a non-profit called Reach Your Dream and, after a transfer rendered him ineligible for his senior high school season, Labissiere played for a team called ‘Reach Your Dream Prep’, which Hamilton founded simply to ensure Labissiere had a place to play.

Here’s how summarized things back in November:

Multiple coaches who have recruited Labissiere told Hamilton either directly indicated or strongly suggested pursuing Labissiere would mostly be a waste of time if they couldn’t offer assistance in helping fund his foundation. One coach from a prominent staff said: “We couldn’t even get in the door.” Another added: “We recognized what it was about early on and decided not to get involved.”

In other words, no one is surprised that the NCAA is looking into Labissiere’s situation, and it’s not hard to look at Kentucky bringing in Isaac Humphries and Tai Wynyard as a sign that they’re not completely certain that Labissiere will make it through this. The surprise is in how quiet that investigation has been over the course of the last few months.

The shame in all of this is that Labissiere is a sweet kid with an incredible back-story. He survived the devastating earthquake in Haiti despite having a house collapse on him. If he can get through this investigation, he’ll easily be one of the biggest and most likeable stars in the sport this season.

Xavier commit to enroll early, redshirt

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Getty Images
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Xavier landed a commitment on Wednesday from four-star big man Eddie Ekiyor, a source confirmed to

Ekiyor, who picked the Musketeers over Miami and Florida, is a borderline top 100 recruit. He’s an athletic, 6-foot-8 post that shouldn’t have an issue adjusting to the pace and physicality of the game, although he needs to continue to develop offensively to be more than a catch-and-dunk big man down the road.

In other words, on paper, Ekiyor isn’t much different from the majority of high major big men. But what’s different about this situation is that Ekiyor will be enrolling at Xavier for the start of the spring semester, technically making him a member of the Class of 2015. Xavier won’t be rushing him through the process — he’ll redshirt the second half of the 2015-16 season — but getting him on campus early will allow him an extra six months of learning the Xavier system, developing in collegiate practices and working out with the Xavier strength coaches.

That should help him limit the adjustment phase as he transitions from high school. That’s important for the Musketeers, because there’s a chance that they could lose their starting front line — James Farr (graduation) and Jalen Reynolds (early entry) — after this season.