Forward will miss rest of season

Updated: January 19, 2005, 12:06 PM ET
By Andy Katz | ESPN.com

Sean Banks' season is over -- and possibly his college basketball career.

The Memphis sophomore is academically ineligible after failing to meet the NCAA and Memphis requirement of needing to pass at least six credit hours in the first semester.

Banks was a preseason Wooden Award and Naismith Trophy candidate and was ESPN.com's freshman of the year.

"I feel really bad for him," Memphis coach John Calipari said. "He was a top 15 pick at one point and he has really hurt himself."

Calipari was referring to Banks' attitude of late, including being suspended from Dec. 14-18.

Banks' reputation was hurt by an incident last summer. He was supposed to try out for the U.S. World Championship for Young Men's Qualifying team. The tryouts were near his New Jersey home, but Banks declined to show and didn't give an explanation.

Banks was averaging 14.5 points and 5.8 rebounds. He played in 16 games, starting 10 of them, and was shooting 34.7 percent, 32.9 percent on 3s and 76.5 percent on free throws. Banks played 19 minutes and scored 13 points off the bench in Memphis' 61-59 loss to TCU Saturday.

"I'm sorry that I let my teammates, coaches, coach Calipari, the university and the city of Memphis down," Banks said Sunday in a statement released by Memphis. "The situation I am in is my own fault. I slacked off at the beginning of last semester and thought I could make it up at the end, but I was unable to do it. I want to thank my teammates and coaches for their support.

"I just hope I can be an example for other players in college and high school that you can't do it this way. Maybe they will learn from my mistakes," he said.

Calipari said Banks would continue to take classes this semester, although Banks declined to say where.

Banks and Calipari said he wouldn't transfer to another school. Calipari added that he expected Banks would declare for the NBA draft in the spring. Calipari said he wouldn't rule out taking Banks back if he were eligible for next year.

Calipari said the rule that clipped Banks helps coaches because it demands accountability for the players who aren't taking care of their academics.

Calipari said he would likely go with a smaller lineup without Banks, although he didn't name who would be the primary recipient of Banks' minutes.

Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com.

Andy Katz | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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