Source: Will Barton denied eligibility
Kentucky and Memphis have two of the top recruiting classes and expected to debut each on foreign trips this month.
But neither is likely to be able to do so at full strength as the NCAA's Eligibility Center holds up two of the key freshmen hoping to gain eligibility.
Kentucky coach John Calipari confirmed earlier in the week that Turkish forward Enes Kanter hadn't been cleared as the eligibility center deals with his amateurism issues after being cleared academically. If Kanter isn't cleared by Aug. 14 then Kanter won't be able to go on the Wildcats' trip to Windsor, Ontario.
Wednesday, it was Memphis' turn to deal with the eligibility center. A source with direct knowledge of the Tigers situation told ESPN.com freshman guard Will Barton is academically ineligible. He could miss the Tigers' Aug. 14-16 trip to the Bahamas and possibly the season.
Barton had been at the Tigers' first three practices but the source said Memphis is working to find out if Barton can continue practicing even if he's not cleared to go on the trip. Freshmen Jelan Kendrick, Joe Jackson and Tarik Black were cleared through the eligibility center for the season. This is the first year the NCAA allowed incoming freshmen to go on summer foreign trips in August if they passed credit hours in summer school.
To go on a foreign trip a player has to be a full qualifier and cleared by amateurism. Fellow freshmen Hippolyte Tsafack, Chris Crawford and Antonio Barton, Will's brother, are going through the eligibility issues and if they aren't cleared then they can't go on the trip, either, according to source. Junior college transfer guard Charles Carmouche has been cleared to play.
Like Kanter for the Wildcats, Barton was expected to be a major contributor for the Tigers. Barton will now go through an appeal process. Barton went to four high schools before arriving at Memphis. The NCAA has raised red flags on players who attend multiple high schools.
Kanter and Barton would likely enter the 2011 NBA draft if projections are correct about their potential production as freshmen in college.
Barton was expected to replace leading scorer Elliott Williams, who left after one season at Memphis for the NBA, as the Tigers top guard.
Barton tweeted on his account earlier Wednesday: "It dont get no worse than this. The hardest thing I ever had 2 face is here. Need vision cuz everything blurry now. Where do I go from here?"
Andy Katz is a senior writer who covers college basketball for ESPN.com.
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