Miami forward ineligible for half of the 2014-2015 season

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Ivan Cruz Uceda, a 6-foot-10 forward joining the Miami basketball team this season, has been ruled ineligible for 50 percent (16 games) of the 2014-2015 season due to an NCAA rule that requires students to enroll in college one year after their high school graduation. The university announced the news on Wednesday afternoon.

Cruz Uceda, a three-star junior college prospect, spent the first two years of his collegiate career at Harcum College (Pennsylvania) before committing to Miami. As a sophomore he averaged 14.6 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.1 blocks per game. He also posted some impressive numbers in during Miami’s foreign trip to Spain in August.

“We feel very bad for Ivan,” Miami head coach Jim Larranaga said in a statement. “Sitting out half of a season is very tough on him and us. Ivan is working very hard to prepare himself for when he does become eligible. He is an excellent rebounder and skilled big man. It is unfortunate that he is being impacted in such a way. We will miss him greatly during the first half of the year.”

During the Hurricanes stay in Spain, Cruz Uceda stuffed the stat sheet, most notably crashing the boards grabbing an average of 15.0 rebounds per game through the first two games of the trip. His presence on the frontline was going to help combat the loss of three of Miami’s four top rebounders from the 2013-2014 season.

Miami is hoping to make a push back to the NCAA tournament after a rebuilding year. The Hurricanes will rely on a revamped perimeter, which returns sophomore Manu Lecomte, joined by transfers Angel Rodriguez and Sheldon McClellan, as well as four-star freshman Ja’Quan Newton. However, the Hurricanes will be without sophomore Davon Reed, who is sidelined with four to six months with an injury.

While his absence will leave Miami thin on the inside, Cruz Uceda will be allowed to practice with the team as he sits out the first 16 games of the season. His debut will be at Cameron Indoor Stadium, as the Hurricanes take on Duke with its frontline featuring Jahlil Okafor.

Miami begins the season on Nov. 14 against Howard.