Thursday, October 1, 2015

Diallo permitted to practice, Self says

Kansas newcomer Cheick Diallo walks out to the field with his KU teammates as they are honored upon their arrival home after winning the gold medal while representing Team USA during the recent World University Games in South Korea.

Kansas newcomer Cheick Diallo walks out to the field with his KU teammates as they are honored upon their arrival home after winning the gold medal while representing Team USA during the recent World University Games in South Korea.


Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self received a letter from the NCAA on Wednesday that provided at least some good news on Cheick Diallo’s eligibility situation.

The 6-foot-9 freshman wasn’t cleared for participation in games.

But the MVP of the McDonald’s and Jordan Brand Classic games was given the OK to practice, which is extremely important for KU and Diallo, since 2015-16 preseason camp opens on Friday.

“He’s basically clear to practice until everything is resolved (regarding initial eligibility as decided by NCAA Eligibility Center),” Self told the Journal-World on Wednesday night. “It’s a positive that he’s able to be out there with the guys but by no means is it that he can compete (in games) yet.”

For the past three weeks, Diallo had been held out of team activities. It’s because of a rule that prohibits newcomers who have not yet been approved by the NCAA Eligibility Center from participating in team-related activities after a certain amount of time on campus expires.

“It was not us getting it done. That was how the NCAA viewed it, that they thought circumstances of his situation is to allow him to practice until it’s resolved because we don’t know the exact timetable,” Self said of Wednesday’s ruling.

Self said, “We don’t know,” when asked when the Eligibility Center will make its final determination on Diallo’s eligibility.

“It doesn’t make any difference now. He’s practicing,” Self said. “I’m totally confident we’ll know something before the first game (Nov. 4 exhibition). Hopefully we’ll know something in a couple weeks, but there’s no guarantee on anything.”

Given the NCAA’s OK, Diallo indeed practiced under coaches’ supervision Wednesday. Eligible players can practice up to two hours a week in the offseason in accordance with NCAA rules.

“Cheick practiced today. He wasn’t very good,” Self said Wednesday while working the Kansas City Basketball Coaches Association Clinic at Bishop Miege High. “I texted him and said, ‘What’s wrong with you? You had no energy, nothing, nothing nothing.’ He said, ‘Coach, but I made it through practice.’ I was like, ‘Darn, Cheick, we went for 45 minutes; that wasn’t exactly a real practice,’’’ Self added with a laugh. “We’ll find out where our guys are (in terms of conditioning and skills) soon.”

Of Diallo, Self told the J-W: “He’s a talented kid. He’s behind the guys from a conditioning standpoint because he hasn’t been out there with us the last three weeks. He’s got a great upside.”

Self said 6-9 freshman Carlton Bragg, “is a talented kid, there’s no doubt about that. But he’s not the only one doing well. They’re all doing fine.”

Greene practicing: KU junior Brannen Greene, who had hip surgery in April, “is practicing,” Self said. “He’s probably only 80 percent, but he’s been cleared to practice and just kind of work into it. He’s doing most everything that we’re doing right now. He’s good to go.”

New dorm to open in one week: KU’s players are scheduled to move into their new apartments, the $12 million McCarthy Hall, a week from today, Self told the Journal-World.

“It’s good,” Self said of the complex. “There’s all kind of new student housing on campus. We’re most concerned with McCarthy Hall. There’s the brand new facility on Daisy Hill. They renovated scholarship halls. It’s pretty good housing right now on our campus.”


Aaron Paisley 6 years ago

Being cleared to practice is a good sign that the NCAA likely expects his stuff to be good to go when they get to it.

Dee Shaw 6 years ago

Aaron, "when they get to it". The NCAA has had his paper work for months. It's amazing how long this process takes. The NCAA has had plenty of time to make a decision. I get tired of the games they play. Here we are in October and we don't know if he can play this year. Ridiculous!

Steve Corder 6 years ago

I doubt the delay is due to paper work issues at this date. However, I do wonder if the clearing house conducts interviews, which might lead to new revelations or concerns. Do they conduct more of an investigation rather than just checking transcripts and class curriculum content?

I also wonder which, if any, of these academy schools have developed a reputation within the NCAA for being little more than a glorified basketball school for top athletes on the road to the NBA......regardless, hope they clear the young man to attend the KU academy of basketball, asap.

Aaron Paisley 6 years ago

They haven't had his paperwork for months though. The summer school classes he took at KU were part of this process so the Eligibility Center didn't get his complete paperwork until August at the earliest while most other kids had their final paperwork in by May or early June.

Jim Stauffer 6 years ago

It almost seems like this is their way of saying, we oppose these kind of schools for kids and we intend to punish the kids who go there one way or the other by putting them under a microscope and making them wait even if there is no reason.

Humpy Helsel 6 years ago

I definitely think this is part of it.

Keith Gellar 6 years ago

I don't like this at all. a month ago, Self very confidently said we should know about his status and now he's saying we don't know. It's great he's cleared to practice, but i'm starting to get a bit more concerned now.

Jay Scott 6 years ago

That's not what Self said. Keep up.

Joe Ross 6 years ago

Self said he does not know of any timeline for when a decision will be made. Three other times when KU has had eligibility questions — in the instances of Josh Selby, Ben McLemore and Jamari Traylor — the final ruling came in October or November.

“We’re hopeful sooner rather than later,” Self said, “but it wouldn’t surprise me if we don’t know anything for at least another month.”

When you don't say things exactly as they were said, it can change your interpretation, your understanding, and your feelings. Self never indicated that we would know by now what his status was going to be, though he remained "hopeful". Hope is not confidence.

Suzi Marshall 6 years ago

Good news Diallo can practice. This news, along with Selfs comments should make us all cautiously optimistic.

With Diallo missing Boot Camp and other team workouts/practices, I bet it takes him a good couple of months to catch on. For comparative purposes, last year Alexander was held out due to some sort of injury and he never did catch on, although Self reported he was doing great at practices when he became ineligible .... in March. Let's all hope Diallo is a quick learner.

Amazing the players are moving in next week! Surely there is still a ton of work remaining and much work will continue while the players are living there. I bet the girls team and general student population quarters are not ready yet.

Mick Allen 6 years ago

Great news that " Embiid" Lite is allowed to practice.Dee, I share your concern with "when they get to it". It's one thing when a kid has been to 3 or 4 different "high schools" while matriculating, in attempting to explain the dilatory action of the NCAA in determining one's eligibility. This kid went to the same high school for the last 3 years. You would think that would expedite the process. Guess not.

Benz Junque 6 years ago

Now that Diallo has been cleared to practice, I am much less concerned about the time frame for a decision. So long as they get it done prior to games I don't care. This is a huge development for Diallo and KU to have him out there with the rest of the team. Wish they could have gotten to this point before Boot Camp but so it goes with the NCAA.

Ron Sterling 6 years ago

Amen about boot camp. Shouldn't be a problem to get him up to speed though.

Joe Ross 6 years ago

...Id be much less concerned too, as long as I had the benefit of knowing that he would ultimately be cleared to play (and I dont). Practice means little if he is ultimately ruled ineligible.

Allison Steen 6 years ago the very least him practicing with the rest of the guys just makes them better. No bad can come from him being able to practice - cleared to play or not. Especially with Coleby out from practice for the year.

Joe Ross 6 years ago

Oh, I surely agree that playing against him in practice will help the team. There is a value there, no question. But its a distant second to having him on the court, competing with them in games.

John Fitzgerald 6 years ago

I think it's great he can practice, but what are the odds the NCAA "finds something" and punishes KU for him practicing? They have been known to clear a player then punish the school later when they "find something."

Aaron Paisley 6 years ago

Not an issue. He's only cleared for practice, not games so if something comes up, at this point, being a partial qualifier is the worst case scenario for KU, Diallo is a practice player.

This won't turn into a Derrick Rose situation and if it does, KU could sue and win that lawsuit because KU did nothing wrong. I've long thought Memphis should've filed suit against the NCAA to get their 2007-08 restored because tge NCAA is the one who screwed up.

John Fitzgerald 6 years ago

Thanks for the intelligent response Aaron, as always. And I think you're right about the Memphis situation. If they had won the title I'm sure they would have filed a suit.

Rodney Crain 6 years ago

John do you have even one example of the NCAA telling a school in writing that a player can practice and then "finding something" and punishing the school for him practicing?

I cannot recall them ever doing that.

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