Kentucky’s Skal Labissiere still not cleared by NCAA to compete

Skal Labissiere is a CBS Sports preseason first-team All-American. (USATSI)
Skal Labissiere is a CBS Sports preseason first-team All-American. (USATSI)

Kentucky freshman Skal Labissiere, projected by many to be the No. 1 overall pick of the 2016 NBA Draft, has not yet been cleared to compete for the Wildcats this season, a source confirmed to CBS Sports on Wednesday.

This doesn’t mean he won’t be cleared, the source noted.

It only means the NCAA still has questions about how Labissiere’s guardian, Gerald Hamilton, handled the prospect’s high school years. There is no timetable for a resolution.

CBS Sports reported last November that Hamilton once asked Keith Easterwood, a longtime summer basketball figure in Memphis, where Labissiere attended high school, how he could “make money off of a basketball player,” according to Easterwood. That’s just one of many so-called red flags that sparked the NCAA’s interest in Labissiere’s eligibility. Another is the fact that Labissiere changed high schools with little explanation before his senior season, and changed summer programs repeatedly.

Hamilton has consistently denied interview requests from CBS Sports.

But he did tell ESPN earlier Wednesday that Labissiere still hasn’t been cleared.

“We’re just trying to get everything squared away,” said Hamilton, who brought Labissiere to the States from Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. “[The NCAA is] asking a few questions.”

A UK official declined comment to CBS Sports last month when asked if Labissiere was cleared. The school declined comment again Wednesday, saying only, “We don’t confirm eligibility of any of our student-athletes until the first game. Everyone has been practicing.”

Labissiere is a preseason CBS Sports First Team All-American. The 6-foot-10 forward chose Kentucky over North Carolina, Tennessee and Memphis, among other schools.

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