In a question-and-answer session with the media on Monday afternoon, Louisville coach Rick Pitino said that the school has lost it’s waiver appeal with the NCAA in regards to the eligibility of center Mangok Mathiang, forcing the Sudan native to sit out this season. He’ll have four years of eligibility remaining beginning for the 2013-14 season.
While this isn’t good news for the program, Pitino said in earlier media sessions that he planned to redshirt Mathiang, a 6-10 raw talent who spent last season at IMG Academy. He was a surprise reclassification — he moved from the Class of 2013 to 2012 late in the summer — committing and signing with the Cardinals in August. He was cleared academically shortly after the semester started.
Without the option of Mathiang, who, again, was going to redshirt anyway, the depth behind starter Gorgui Dieng is still solid. Stephen Van Treese and Zach Price give the center position a three-deep look, with power forwards freshman Montrezl Harrell and sophomore Chane Behanan adding plenty of beef down low.
Though no team wants to lose an appeal like this, it was a formality. It will also give Mathiang time to bulk up, which he sorely needs to do at just 200 pounds.