Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Six highly-touted freshmen that may not be playing this season

Michael Chandler, the jewel of the Central Florida recruiting class, with not be on campus in Orlando this year.

The 6'11" center, who is currently sitting at 50th in our Consensus Recruiting Rankings, has not qualified academically next season. Instead of being a Golden Knight, Chandler will spend next season at prep school. This isn't exactly a surprise; there have been rumblings for a long time that Chandler was never going to get cleared.

The Lawrence North (IN) HS product had a roller-coaster recruitment. He originally committed to Louisville as a sophomore, but backed out of that commitment last May. He then gave a pledge to Xavier, but did not end up signing with Chris Mack's program on signing day last November. After having rumors swirl that he was prepared to commit to UConn, Chandler eventually ended up choosing Central Florida on New Year's Day.

And if things weren't already complicated enough, UCF is currently facing the potential repercussion of using a runner to help land recruits. Chandler had ties with the runner used by UCF head coach Donnie Jones.

Chandler isn't the only elite recruit that could end up having to miss this season.

Kevin Ware, Louisville: Like Chandler, Ware's recruitment was a wild ride. The Atlanta native originally signed with Bruce Pearl at Tennessee, but once the other shoe dropped and Pearl lost his job, Ware wanted out. The 88th ranked recruit according to our Consensus Recruiting Rankings ended up committing to Central Florida, but that commitment never felt terribly strong. The day before Pete Thamel and Pat Forde published their story on the potential recruiting violations at UCF -- which included Ware -- the point guard decommitted. He eventually decided upon Louisville as his next destination.

For Ware, potentially being ruled ineligible has nothing to do with the investigation into his recruitment at UCF and everything to do with his grades.

"It's a very close call, and the NCAA will decide," Pitino told the Louisville Courier-Journal. "Right now he's waiting for his grade to come back from his online testing. Right now we don’t know. So if we don’t get the answer in time … he’ll probably be eligible in January."

Ware was expected to back up Peyton Siva at the point this season.

Shaquille Thomas, Cincinnati: Thomas was one of four players -- and the highest-ranked prospect, at 90th overall -- from NIA Prep in New Jersey to be ruled ineligible academically by the NCAA. There have been concerns about NIA Prep being nothing but a diploma mill for a while, and it seems like little coincidence that this ruling was handed down mere months after the New Jersey Star-Ledger ran this superb profile of the program. Thomas -- as well as Ryan Rhoomes (TCU), Kelvin Amayo (Towson), and Ibn Muhammad -- all plan to appeal the decision.

Dwuan Anderson, Michigan State: Michigan's reigning Mr. Basketball enrolled this summer with the Spartans and was eligible to play during the upcoming season, but he will not enroll for the fall semester and will not be a part of the team during the 2011-2012 season. Anderson's mother died recently.

"The last two years have been a very rough time for me, as I've had to deal with some personal tragedies, including the sickness and death of my mother,” Anderson said in a statement released by MSU. "I've been in counseling as I attempt to cope with these issues, and I plan to undergo further counseling. I want to get all my personal issues in order before moving on to the next stage of my life. I loved being on campus this summer, getting to know and spend time with my teammates and a lot of other great people, but it also made me realize that I need to get some other things together before dealing with the pressures that come with being a college basketball player."

Tom Izzo added in the statement "We know it's been a difficult last few years for Dwaun, culminating with the death of his mother this spring. He’s trying to iron out his personal life before moving on to his collegiate and basketball life. We will be supportive of him throughout this process, understanding there are things in life more important than basketball."

DJ Gardner, Mississippi State: Is there any program in the country that is as messed up at Mississippi State is right now? On the same day that rick Stansbury announced that the decision to leave Renardo Sidney home on the Bulldog's trip to Europe was made by the coaching staff, word got out that highly-regarded freshman DJ Gardner had been kicked off the team. For tweeting.

Gardner, who had just found out that he would be redshirted for the 2011-2012 season, fired off a couple of tweets calling the Mississippi State coaching staff liars and doing so in a not-so-nice way. This came just months after Rick Stansbury had reinstated the right for his players to use twitter. If you've forgotten, Ravern Johnson spouted off on twitter last season.

LaQuinton Ross, Ohio State: Ross, who is the highest-rated recruit on this list at 46th, may not be allowed to suit up for the Buckeyes this season. According to his high school coach, Ross had two grades from his old high school in Jackson, MS, flagged by the NCAA. The issue stems from confusion over a grade. The high school gave him a C when the NCAA believes it should have been a D. That's not good, although the Dispatch does say that could be the result of a changing grade scale.

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