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Originally published October 13, 2011 at 05:24p.m., updated October 14, 2011 at 12:49a.m.

Lots of new faces …but will they all play? McLemore, Traylor still ineligible

The Kansas newcomers clockwise from front are Naadir Tharpe, Christian Garrett, Kevin Young, Merv Lindsay, Ben McLemore and Jamari Traylor.

The Kansas newcomers clockwise from front are Naadir Tharpe, Christian Garrett, Kevin Young, Merv Lindsay, Ben McLemore and Jamari Traylor.

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Ben McLemore says that, outside of basketball, his greatest talent is ... dancing.

“I wish I could sing. I definitely can dance. I’ve got the dancing skills and the moves. I can’t wait until they tell us what’s going on so I can play in Late Night and show everybody I can dance,” McLemore, KU’s 6-foot-5 freshman guard from St. Louis, said with a smile.

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As of Thursday, it had not yet been determined whether McLemore and fellow freshman Jamari Traylor would be able to participate in tonight’s Late Night in the Phog, set for a 6:30 p.m. start in Allen Fieldhouse. They’ve both been able to attend class and play in unofficial pick-up games since an NCAA ruling on Sept. 8, but they cannot participate in official team activities as they await word on their eligibility from the NCAA.

KU coach Bill Self implied at Thursday’s media day that an announcement may be coming soon indicating the two would not be cleared to play this season — “We still have hope, but we’re not holding our breath on that situation at all,” he said. Self nonetheless wants to see the duo at least sing, act, dance ... and play tonight.

“They won’t participate in practice. I just want them to come out there and be a part of the team, and I don’t see how that affects anything,” Self said. “But based on the information we have right now, that determination has not been made whether or not they can come out there and be a part of the festivities with no regard to practice.

“I don’t understand that one, so that’s one we’ll continue to fight for until Late Night to see if that can happen, because they deserve that.”

Self did not sound hopeful that the two would be deemed eligible for participation their freshman seasons.

“I’ve held off talking about that, but they know where they’re at. And they know we’ve tried, and we’re trying to get some things done,” Self said. “And obviously, we haven’t got the answers that we want, because if we had, we’d have shared them with you. That’s a factual thing. It’s not totally negative. I’m not saying that at all. We still have hope, but we’re not holding our breath on that situation at all.”

Self said he was not upset at the NCAA Clearinghouse.

“The NCAA has been great. I mean, we can agree to disagree,” Self said. “But it’s not because of anything they’ve done. They’ve been fair and responsive. We are still holding out a little bit of hope. They’ve made it pretty clear that this is what they see as of now. Hopefully I’ll make an announcement sooner rather than later, so these kids can know the situation where they are at,” Self added. “They know what’s going on. ... The thing about it is with those two kids, it’s unbelievable to me, their attitude with me is, ‘Hey, coach, we’re going to be OK.’ I’m amazed how good of an attitude they have. They haven’t missed a class. They are caught up academically after starting late. They feel they have something to prove more than basketball, which isn’t a bad thing.”

Freshman Braeden Anderson recently was deemed a partial qualifier and left KU after the Big 12 faculty reps did not approve him for aid. Had he been given the OK by the Big 12 faculty reps, he could have practiced second semester and been eligible next year with four years of eligibility remaining.

Traylor and McLemore have been on scholarship. They have been allowed to attend class and play in unsupervised pickup games, but not take part in official team activities.

Their continuing presence on campus seems to indicate that a possible scenario might involve the duo being allowed to practice second semester but not play in games until next season.

Nobody’s saying that is definitely the case at this time.

“I usually come in coach’s office, talk to him, ask him what kind of feedback he’s getting for us,” said McLemore, who started at Wellston High in his hometown. Last year, he attended both Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va., and Christian Life Center in Houston. “We’re just waiting. A lot of players are praying for us every day. Hopefully they will make the decision and we’ll be able to play this year,” McLemore added.

Traylor, a 6-8 forward from Chicago, attended Fenger and Julian High Schools in the Windy City and IMG Academy in Florida last year.

“I hope there’s hope, but it’s a process. I’m just waiting,” Traylor said. “I know my coach is working hard on it. I am happy to be here and have the opportunity to go to school. I’m not sure what the problem is. I just hope the decision comes out in my favor.”

The two were not able to participate in the recent Boot Camp conditioning program.

“I don’t feel I’m behind. I know if I am behind I’d get caught up pretty quickly because coach Self is one of the best coaches in the country,” Traylor said. “I would just love to have the opportunity to be out there.”

Noted McLemore: “It’s been hard not getting to do the individual workouts with my teammates. I am not going to let it get me down. I’ve mainly been focusing on school right now, going to class getting my grades up.”

Self noted that it’s a positive that the two have been able to go through this period of uncertainty together.

“They don’t feel sorry for themselves They are getting three squared (meals) a day and they’ve got a big bed to sleep in. That’s the reality of it. They don’t see it as a negative. They have people who care about them. They don’t like it but are making the best out of the situation,” Self said.

Comments

hawksince51 2 years, 6 months ago

I don't feel Self has done anything wrong in recruiting these two players knowing there could be academic issues. The reality is that (except for our infamous OAD's) his recruiting has not gone so well the last few years. For whatever reasons, he has come in second on several high profile recruits so he has had to lower his standards and take what has been available to him. It has never been easy to recruit against Duke, UNC, and UK. But it seems to me the competition for top recruits has gotten stronger across the board. Schools are paying their BB coaches huge bucks and making large investments in facilities. They expect a return on thier investment.

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halogenlamps 2 years, 6 months ago

I am so glad the NCAA's focus is on the student athlete. Glad the NCAA is holding these guys hostage.

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Tony Bandle 2 years, 6 months ago

Having watched Ben play for two years I can virtually guarantee this is going to really hurt:

1] Great kid and a total team player. 2] Has always loved Kansas and out-lasted his entire family and state to prove it. 3] Top talent already with a huge upside for developement.

Boys and girls, this is a torpedo to mid-ships, I was convinced Ben would be starting by January.

One question..if Traylor and BenMac are declared ineligible, does that free up two mid-semester schollies or does Kansas hang tight for this year and bring them back next year??

I think now I will go throw up in my Missouri trashcan which has the names of Norm Stewart and Jason Sutherland stenciled on the inside bottom so they are always covered with trash!!!

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hihawk 2 years, 6 months ago

Why does Self get himself into these spots, almost every year he does something like this????

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Krohnutz 2 years, 6 months ago

This sucks. The NCAA is ruining college basketball; meanwhile, the NBA is ruining the NBA. So we wait until the Royals are good?

NCAA enforcement is a lot like enacting gun laws to take guns from criminals. Calipari is already breaking the rules, so it isn't a big deal to add more rules, you only end up limiting his competition that actually tries to at least SORT OF play by the rules.

The NCAA is a joke.

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Jack Wilson 2 years, 6 months ago

Basketball ..

This could be the worst roster that coach Self has ever had, top to bottom, this side of Tulsa.

Does that matter?

Starters (I love this stuff) - 1. Taylor 2. EJ 3. Releford 4. TRob 5. Withey

Playing, off the bench: 6: Young 7. Tharpe 8. Wesley 9. Teahan

For those that dispute the "worst roster" thing .. just look at that.

Adding McLemore to the mix would be huge. Adding Traylor may be .. uh .. huger (new word). Just simply from having somewhat of a post-body.

Back in the spring, may of us were crying about how thin we would be in the post. Even with our non-star, unranked, gonna prove rivals wrong saviors .. Anderson and Traylor. Now Anderson is gone, and Traylor may not play.

I thought we were thin in 2003 in the post after Simien got hurt .. but we know how that turned out. Worked out ok.

But the "on paper" thing right now doesn't look so good.

Defense will be the name of the game. And at least our top 5 will be very good at that.

Thank the lord we snagged Young.

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Steve Brown 2 years, 6 months ago

While I"m frustrated as well, would rather have this cleared up front the right way, even if we have to sacrifice a year on the bench than to have wins vacated after the season.

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ku_foaf 2 years, 6 months ago

Comment: not really a very clear identification of who is who in the picture. I know what Jamari and Ben look like from previous photos.

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11hawkkukenny 2 years, 6 months ago

What makes no sense to me is if this is all about school records and stuff how can they go to class if you didnt pass high school how are you in college i dont get it its sounds different from selbys deal people paid for some of his stuff but ya def tired of having this BS to deal with the last 2 years could be huge if we dont get these guys we need them....

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danno1313 2 years, 6 months ago

NCAA= NATIONAL COMMUNISTS AGAINST ATHLETES

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Randy Maxwell 2 years, 6 months ago

This is all on Self. When you recruit a kid you know his situation and if he will have problems being eligible. It's time for Self to recruit players that are not in this situation.

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hihawk 2 years, 6 months ago

Nebraska doesn't have problems like this, ever.

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swoodberry 2 years, 6 months ago

Whay are these kids on the Micah Downs high school plan?

Constantly transferring schools seems to be part of the probelm.

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William Blake 2 years, 6 months ago

Look at the photo above... it will be heartache if the smile squad doesn't stay together.

This is the first read I've had on this site that left me with a doubtful feeling about their clearance. Not the greatest lead-in to Latenight!

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Joe Baker 2 years, 6 months ago

Maybe they'll be cleared today. Let's hope they're at the end of this process and will provide a little closure to this insanity.

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Ted Hume 2 years, 6 months ago

At least now we know why Self signed so many kids that were off the radar. He must have been at least aware of the possibility that a couple would not qualify. After all, the staff had all the academic records of every one of these recruits before signing them; that's just part of the vetting process for DI BB. So his secret concerns have finally become a reality, unfortunately. This explains a lot about this year's oddball signing class at any rate

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REHawk 2 years, 6 months ago

Major blow, if these two are not cleared this season. I had figured McLemore for 20 minutes, Traylor 10-12. This team will be short handed w/o those two. Still capable of competing for a league title; but really short on bench strength post season. Positive thing, their attending classes and maintaining composure. If not cleared for the season, would be dandy to see them on the practice court second semester, preparing for a chance to start or play major minutes next year. Coach has taken some recruiting gambles which, so far, haven't worked out to maximum return. The Selby investment produced bigtime ups and downs. Now these two and Braeden Anderson.
Maintaining a slot among the nation's creme de la creme in college hoops involves rolling the dice in recruiting players capable of rising to the top annually. Kentucky's loss of their big man recruit last season, UCon's current troubles...the recruiting gambles are prevalent most everywhere. This does not appear to be one of those seasons, come January, that Bill Self can depend upon more than a 7 or 8 man rotation. Eligible newcomers will have to apply themselves intensely to glean court time and fill slots. And veterans must stay healthy and out of foul troubles.

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Jack Wilson 2 years, 6 months ago

Guys, this is easy .. recruit players that will qualify academically, and/or that don't have questions regarding agents .. er, long lost friends that magically show up when a star player is in 7th grade and then provide monetary support for the single mom without ever expecting to receive anything in return (and how could anyone ever assume such a thing). If these issues are present, we'll have this sort of headache. It's that simple.

This is not surprise. And wasn't a surprise to Self, I'm sure, based on what he knew of these players' academics. He's been around the block, so he knew it wasn't clear sailing.

And his has nothing to do with whether the NCAA is reasonable, or whether they should act more quickly. Or whether they are hypocrites. We all know the answers there. They are what they are.

But they aren't treating KU any differently than any other institution in this type of situation.

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namder 2 years, 6 months ago

Hey, Cameltoe, slide back under your rock.

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Steve Gantz 2 years, 6 months ago

I've worked in inner city schools for years. At least one of the two mentioned were in that type of school. The stuff that happens, I've seen it first hand, helps me understand the NCAA's position a bit. The timeliness of it is the issue at hand. Why this couldn't happen earlier is the mystery, but lots of stuff goes on that most of us don't see in a lot of low performing schools (and probably more average schools too) I had a kid who's a FB player at a major powerhouse now begging me to change his grade so that he'd be eligible. I didn't, but somehow he ended up on the team. What happened? Someone change the transcript? I guess I'll never know, but it gives a little insight into what the NCAA is up against.

Hopefully Self is leading us on a bit, and these two guys will be eligible.

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Robin Smith 2 years, 6 months ago

I'm pretty sure I could look at a kid's transcript and be done in one afternoon.

why does this take so long?

there's a lack of transparency in this process that is disturbing and if there is some reasonable complications then, please LJW, explicate what is involved in the reviewing that would make the extreme delay in this process even remotely comprehensible.

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Ferd Magellan 2 years, 6 months ago

I don't know what I hate most - the BCS, the NCAA or the Clearinghouse.

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Sam Constance 2 years, 6 months ago

It took all of my energy to make a post on this story that would be deemed appropriate according to the website usage agreement. The only reason I'm even making the effort is because I have questions that the article doesn't seem to address and I was hoping someone, anyone could shed some light.

1) What is the potential reason that these two would not be allowed to play? Insufficient grades? Or the NCAA arbitrarily deciding that the grades they did get aren't "valid"? I find it strange that all we hear is this nebulous "unlikely they will play" with no explanation for what the HELL is going on here.

2) What would change between now and one year from now that would require the two kids sit this year, but suddenly be eligible next year? I was always under the impression that if a kid isn't cleared due to grade issues, there's not much he can do to become eligible--that he's basically SOL.

3) As far as the NCAA and Clearinghouse go, I would like to take my biggest...

[comment redacted upon advice of attorney]

...then we'll see how they like the feel of the real thing, instead of the metaphorical version they are doing to McLemore and Traylor.

4) Lately it seems that college sports is going out of it's way to make me not find any enjoyment in college sports.

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Gary McCullough 2 years, 6 months ago

The NCAA is a farce. Just a con game with a contract with CBS to televise March Madness. Get rid of this bunch of con-artists. And provide the "student-athletes" with compensation for the cash they bring to the University. The present system is 21st Century slavery.

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jgkojak 2 years, 6 months ago

That said - I think Self does better when he has fewer options and has to let kids play through their mistakes.

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jgkojak 2 years, 6 months ago

What I don't get is-

The NCAA gets, what, a BILLION freakin' dollars from its CBS contract?

So... tell me why the hell they can't hire whoever the bleep they need to hire, however many people they blanking need to hire to get this thing done. It would benefit the student-athletes to know NOW. We already see how it fracked up Selby's season having the uncertainty. Just tell them in August. How hard is it?

Need boots on the ground in their hometown to investigate? Hire 'em, train 'em and get it done.

Pay institutions to make it a priority - hey Podunk High School, here's $1000 to expedite the records search. GET IT DONE.

Again, a BILLION DOLLARS and they can't hire people?????

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chriz 2 years, 6 months ago

The question I have is, why can't we recruit kids without these issues? Like Duke does?

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JayDocMD 2 years, 6 months ago

As far as this NCAA Clearinghouse nonsense, why do I get the overwhelming feeling that if BMac had chosen Mizzery he would already be good to go?

I'm no Conspiracy Theorist, but I just don't see other kids in other programs having these issues. I know the NCAA Eye of Sauron has been upon these kids who have attended multiple High Schools/Prep Schools, but come on. How about checking the green cards on one or two of Texas' 10 Canadian recruits.

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JayDocMD 2 years, 6 months ago

Off topic info nugget: Bubba Cunningham apparently has agreed to be the North Carolina AD. Interesting that he wouldn't leave Conference USA for KU, but is more than happy to be Roy's Toy.

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Woody Cragg 2 years, 6 months ago

But the good side of marrying the ex wife is...you get all your stuff back whether she cheats or not!!!

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jaybate 2 years, 6 months ago

Big trouble.

Huge trouble.

Afghanistan size trouble.

Frank Martin size trouble.

This is a script for "When Bad Things Happen to Good People."

This is "Nightmare on Naismith Drive."

This is Merv Lindsey in the rotation stuff.

Oedipus broached his eyes out for less than this.

This is worse than the mess the anti-big governmenters have made of things.

This is like the double-dip depression that has started.

This is like going blind during a porn flick with high production values.

This is worse than being forced to re-marry your ex-wife and having to let her cheat on you again.

This is bad!

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kennethterry92 2 years, 6 months ago

Just read on the Kansas City Star website that the NCAA is looking at the high school transcripts for Ben and Jamari. My question is why do they allow them to be on scholarship and attend class if there still looking at their transcripts?

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milehighhawk 2 years, 6 months ago

What I don't get is the NCAA KNOWS there are what - a hundred or two hundred kids for hoops they need to clear each year?

Fine.

Get it done early.

Leaving these kids hanging more than halfway through their first semester is cruel and demonstrative of administrative incompetence.

If the NCAA cared one bit about the welfare of the STUDENT-athlete, they'd get it together.

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Hammertoe 2 years, 6 months ago

It's Football Season. And K-state is undeafeated.

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KGphoto 2 years, 6 months ago

Is this happening anywhere else?

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KEITHMILES05 2 years, 6 months ago

If those two aren't approved it will be devastating.

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KEITHMILES05 2 years, 6 months ago

If those two aren't approved it will be devastating.

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lothario64118 2 years, 6 months ago

Maybe B.S. should stop recruiting these type of players. UNC, Duke, and to some extent UK even does not have to wait like KU does.This is beginning to get ridiculous. I hope we have an injury free year, especially on the bigs. Either way KU is limited on depth.

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Carter Patterson 2 years, 6 months ago

They are too busy telling the world how great Auburn is. This is the 3rd year in a row that the NCAA has failed to do its job.

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kureader 2 years, 6 months ago

Bill Self should get an Academy Award for acting as though he thinks the NCAA has been "great".

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bradynsdad 2 years, 6 months ago

Kind of sounds like there is only about a 20% chance that they play this year. We need these guys. I am not understanding what the problem is. If they graduated high school with a diploma shouldn't they be allowed to play? Or is it that they have been accepting money? What's the problem? Why is it so hard for these kids to get cleared?

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Pbbut 2 years, 6 months ago

Don't FB players have to go through the same process? How do they get hundreds of FB players cleared before fall practice but can't get a couple hundred DI BB players cleared? The FB players know before fall starts and have a chance to follow through on a plan, go to JC in time for fall practice. The only incompetence is by the NCAA, and of course they'll still cash the check at the end of the tournament, but rest assured it won't go to hire staff to get students cleared.

This is from the same clowns that tell us it's all good with Auburn football.

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kennethterry92 2 years, 6 months ago

I don't know what else the NCAA has to look at. If they are on scholarship and going to class then shouldn't that make them eligible to play?

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cwf414 2 years, 6 months ago

I just want to know who we pissed off at NCAA HQ?

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kureader 2 years, 6 months ago

At first the NCAA doesn't even let these student/athletes go to class. And now, it's October, and the NCAA still doesn't know if the kids can practice?

Wow, NCAA! Is this decision really that complicated? Or, are you guys just really really busy? Or... maybe you're just bunch of arrogant, powerhungry boneheads?

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