UK BASKETBALL | Report: Skal cleared by NCAA, eligible for 2015-16

10/23/2015 07:35 PM

LEXINGTON — Big Blue Nation, breathe a sigh of relief.

The NCAA has cleared Kentucky freshman Skal Labissiere for the upcoming 2015-16 season, according to a report released by Yahoo Sports on Friday afternoon.

Labissiere, a five-star prospect from Haiti, was ranked the No. 1 overall recruit in the 2015 class by and is currently projected to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.

Reports circulated last week the NCAA was investigating possible amateurism violations by Labissiere’s guardian, Gerald Hamilton, and alleged money requests Hamilton made before allowing schools to recruit the highly-regarded prospect.

Head coach John Calipari became agitated at Kentucky’s annual media day when asked about the eligibility concerns, adamantly assuring his prized recruit would be cleared for the start of the season:

  • “Everything is good to go,” Calipari said of Labissiere. “Like we do here, it’s on the first day. You know, if you don’t know, I’ve got to explain the process.”
  • “How did this become such a huge — this became like a firestorm. I’m telling you, I was like, I told — what is this big — this is like — where did this come from? I feel real good about what my team’s going to look like on the first day. Let’s move on to some basketball stuff.”

Calipari added NCAA reviews are nothing new for top UK commitments:

  • “There’s probably 50 players that have a review,” Calipari said. “Last year we had five players have a review. A couple of them got cleared the week before the game. This year there was more than one. Every year we’ve been here, players go through the review. You won’t believe this: It’s always the best players who go through the review. I think my team will be fine and you guys will figure it out when we go out there the first day and everybody’s got uniforms on. You’ll know, ‘Oh, they must have been cleared.’”

Kentucky will not comment on player eligibility until the season opener, per a university spokesperson.

Labissiere and the rest of the Wildcats tip off the 2015-16 season November 13 at home vs. Albany.


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