Markus Kennedy cleared to play immediately for SMU

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SMU received a boost to its lineup on Friday afternoon, as forward Markus Kennedy has been cleared to play immediately after missing the first semester for academic reasons.

Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports was the first of several major media outlets to report the news via Twitter.

Last season, the 6-foot-8 Kennedy averaged 12.4 points and 7.1 rebounds for the Mustangs. SMU ended up being the notable snub of the 2014 NCAA Tournament. In an effort to improve its non-conference slate, Larry Brown scheduled games against Gonzaga, Indiana and Michigan on the road, as well as a home contest against Arkansas. So far, the Mustangs haver suffered losses to the Zags, Hoosiers and Razorback with their best wings against Wyoming and UC Santa Barbara.

SMU had planned to have Kennedy and five-star freshman Emmanuel Mudiay in the lineup for those out-of-conference games. However, in July, Mudiay announced he’d head overseas instead, followed by news several months late that Kennedy was facing eligibility issues.

The addition of Kennedy is a huge lift for SMU, a program looking to get into the tournament for the first time since 1993. The American Athletic Conference has struggled as a whole with Cincinnati’s recent home win over San Diego State serving as the bright spot in an otherwise disappointing season so far. Kennedy gives SMU arguably the top big man in the conference.

SMU is 7-3 this season with an important non-conference game on Saturday on the road against Michigan. Kennedy will make his season debut against the Wolverines.