UK Men's Basketball

Report: Kentucky's Labissiere ruled eligible by NCAA

Skal Labissiere  talked to reporters during Kentucky Men's Basketball media day at Joe Craft Center in Lexington, Ky., on Oct. 14, 2015. Photo by Pablo Alcala | Staff
Skal Labissiere talked to reporters during Kentucky Men's Basketball media day at Joe Craft Center in Lexington, Ky., on Oct. 14, 2015. Photo by Pablo Alcala | Staff Lexington Herald-Leader

If Skal Labissiere is everything he's projected to be, Friday was a big day for University of Kentucky basketball.

The 6-foot-11 freshman has been declared eligible to play for the Wildcats this season, according to a report from Yahoo Sports.

Labissiere's NCAA eligibility has been in question from an amateurism standpoint because of allegations surrounding his guardian.

Labissiere, rated the nation's No. 1 recruit in the class of 2015 by Scout.com and Rivals.com, is also widely projected to be the No. 1 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.

Shams Charania, who covers the NBA for Yahoo Sports, tweeted Friday evening that Labissiere has received his NCAA eligibility for the 2015-16 season, according to sources.

A UK spokesman said Friday night that the team will stick to its original timetable and won't confirm Labissiere's eligibility until the Wildcats' season opener on Nov. 13.

During Kentucky's Media Day on Oct. 14, Coach John Calipari said, "I think my team will be fine. And you guys will figure it out when we go out there the first (game) and everybody has uniforms on. You'll know. They must have been cleared."

Calipari said pretty much the same thing during Wednesday's Southeastern Conference Media Day.

An NCAA spokesman told the Herald-Leader on Friday night that it would have no comment on Labissiere's eligibility.

The NCAA looked into Labissiere's eligibility — not an unusual process for high-profile players — in part because of reports that the Haitian-born player's guardian, Gerald Hamilton, had asked an AAU coach about ways to make money off of a player.

Labissiere expressed confidence during UK's Media Day that the NCAA would judge him eligible.

"I expect to play by the first game of the season," he said.

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