Considered by many to be Top 100 prospects entering their senior year of high school, forwards Jordan Mickey and Karviar Shepherd helped turn the Prime Prep program into one of the nation’s best after following head coach Ray Forsett over from Grace Prep.
Both players were expected to have a similar impact at their respective colleges in 2013-14, with Mickey signing with LSU and Shepard making the move to TCU.
There’s now a chance that neither will suit up for their new schools in 2013-14.
According to a report from Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com, both Mickey and Shepherd have been declared to be non-qualifiers for the upcoming season by the NCAA. Per Goodman’s report, both Mickey and Shepherd were in good shape to qualify academically for Division I competition before leaving Grace Prep.
In January, Prime Prep announced that it had completed “all the preliminary steps necessary” to ensure that its student-athletes would be eligible to receive scholarships from NCAA institutions according to the report.
“We are pleased to announce that Prime Prep Academy has successfully completed all preliminary steps necessary for NCAA membership! As a result of this milestone, all prospective student athletes are eligible for individual review through the NCAA initial eligibility process. This will enable students to attend and receive scholarships from Division 1 and Division 2 college institutions. Once again, Prime Prep Academy continues to make strides for students both academically and in the athletic department. We anticipate a great partnership with the NCAA.”
Both players will have the opportunity to appeal the ruling, which they are expected to do. As John Infante noted in regards to the Chris Walker situation earlier this week, being declared a non-qualifier at this stage simply means that at this point in time they cannot play.
While Mickey and Shepherd will go through with the appeal process, both LSU and TCU are in a position where they need to plan for the possibility of not having these freshmen on board.
LSU, with the addition of McDonald’s All-America Jarell Martin, fellow freshman Brian Bridgewater and the return of Johnny O’Bryant III, should be fine inside and will have a shot at earning an NCAA tournament bid even if Mickey’s unable to play.
As for TCU, head coach Trent Johnson will have the services of two players who saw either little or no action last season due to knee injuries in Amric Fields (three games) and Aaron Durley (injured his knee in the preseason). Those two join junior Devonta Abron (7.4 ppg, 5.9 rpg) in TCU’s front court rotation, but losing a player of Shepherd’s caliber hurts the Horned Frogs from a depth standpoint.
Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.