Eligibility issue sidelined him for six games

Updated: December 5, 2003, 7:46 PM ET
Associated Press

STORRS, Conn. -- High school star Charlie Villanueva will be eligible to make his college debut Saturday when No. 3 Connecticut hosts Army.

Villanueva missed UConn's first six regular-season games while the university and the NCAA determined his eligibility. The 6-foot-10 220-pound forward from Brooklyn, N.Y., who considered declaring for the NBA before choosing college, also missed two preseason games.

"We are pleased that Charlie will be able to join his teammates on the court," coach Jim Calhoun said Friday. "This resolution now allows Charlie to continue his focus on final examinations and help the basketball team."

The situation stemmed from Villanueva's workouts in front of NBA scouts last summer. NCAA rules state that the recruit or a family member or friend not related to basketball must pay all expenses for such workouts.

Villanueva averaged 19 points and 11 rebounds at Blair Academy in New Jersey last season.

UConn (5-1) plays Army (3-2) at Gampel Pavilion on Saturday.

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press