The NCAA Clearinghouse didn’t do Kansas any favors this season. Same with St. John’s and Central Florida.
Still, Rick Pitino’s optimistic Louisville won’t befall the same fate.
The Cardinals are still waiting for 5-star freshman guard Wayne Blackshear to be cleared to play this season, but the coach seems to think it’s just a matter of time. Maybe they’ve had more to do.
“They’re being a lot tougher this year than they have been in the past,” Pitino told CBSSports.com. “But Wayne’s situation is, I think, pretty good. We are optimistic.”
Bill Self was optimistic once. Now he’s just peeved at the Clearinghouse.
The Jayhawks announced Friday that two key freshmen, Ben McLemore and Jamari Traylor, are both out for the season when they were ruled partial qualifiers. This less than a month after wing Braedon Anderson had the same outcome.
That leaves Kansas with eight recruited scholarship players.
“We’re not happy with it at all. I’m not. I don’t think it’s right. When we recruited these kids, we thought they were full qualifiers without question. … These are really good young men. We feel they’ve proven themselves to be full qualified status. They (NCAA officials) see different. So we fought. We fought hard. We didn’t win,” Self told the Lawrence Journal-World.
So why’s he so mad? He explained to the paper:
“The way we see things is, they are full qualifiers. The NCAA within their rules and judgment have every right to delve into situations. After diving into situations they come up with different conclusions than what we had. Basically in a nutshell, (the NCAA said) the kids should be in college, the kids should be at Kansas, the kids should be working on their academics, but they feel they should have to focus strictly on their academics for a semester. That’s basically it in a nutshell.”
Traylor and McLemore get a huge boost for their academic careers, benefiting from tutors and support staff athletes receive. But Kansas can’t use them until fall of 2012. Small wonder Self’s mad. Pitino will surely feel the same way if Blackshear isn’t cleared.
Blackshear’s not the only Cardinal awaiting clearance, either.
Kevin Ware, a 6-4 guard, was ruled ineligible last month but an increased SAT could get him on the court this season. If neither make the cut, Louisville’s promising season suddenly becomes a little trickier.
You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.