The summer months for incoming freshmen can be a tense period for some, especially if they’ve yet to hear from the NCAA Eligibility Center about their status for the upcoming season.
A ruling in the affirmative means (obviously) that they’re cleared and ready to take the floor for their new school, with the hope of making an immediate impact. But to be declared a partial (you can practice and receive a scholarship, but can’t play in games) or non-qualifier (you can’t receive a scholarship or join the program) means that their college career hits a speed bump for that freshman campaign.
Nebraska freshman guard Tai Webster has made the long voyage from his native New Zealand to Lincoln, with the expectation that he’ll begin taking summer school classes on Monday. Expected to be an impact newcomer for Tim Miles’ squad, Webster averaged 18.5 points and 4.4 assists per game for the Waikato Pistons last season.
But, Webster has yet to be cleared to play this season according to Lee Barfknecht of the Omaha World-Herald.
Neither [summer school] enrollment nor class attendance in college affects the NCAA certification process, which focuses on initial eligibility factors such as core high school courses and standardized test scores.
A denial of NCAA certification for 2013-14 would create the possibility of time at a prep school or delayed full-time college enrollment.
The Huskers don’t lack for experience in the backcourt, with senior Ray Gallegos (12.5 ppg, 3.1 rpg) and sophomores Benny Parker (2.7 ppg, 2.1 apg) and Shavon Shields (8.6 ppg, 5.1 rpg) all being members of the rotation last season.
But Nebraska does have to account for the loss of their leader in both scoring and assists, Dylan Talley (13.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.5 apg).
With Talley leading the way the Huskers ranked 30th nationally in turnover percentage, handing the ball over on just 17.2% of their possessions (16.1% in conference games, 2nd in the Big Ten), so this is a notable loss to say the least. The return of the aforementioned perimeter contributors certainly helps, and the 6-3 Webster is expected to figure prominently in the discussion as well.
It certainly helps Webster in regards to both his physical development and getting used to Miles’ system that he’s on campus now, but those positive words from the NCAA Eligibility Center can’t come soon enough.
Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.