August 10, 2013 10:03:17 PM
Matthew Stevens - firstname.lastname@example.org
STARKVILLE - Mississippi State University will be without a four-star center for this upcoming men's basketball season.
The NCAA Eligibility ruled Friday 6-foot-11 center Fallou Ndoye as a partial qualifier after the native of Senegal completed the initial-eligibility waiver.
Ndoye, who starred at the nationally-recognized Findlay Prep in Henderson, Nev., isn't eligible to compete until the 2014-15 campaign but is allowed to receive his athletic scholarship for MSU and participate in all practices and workouts this year as a redshirt player.
"The NCAA Eligibility Center did the right thing by granting Fallou this waiver," MSU coach Rick Ray said in a university statement. "All the young man has ever done is successfully complete the course work at his schools. Our compliance department did a terrific job in presenting this case to the NCAA and staying on top of the situation. This upcoming season will be extremely beneficial for Fallou's development."
Neither MSU, a spokesperson for the NCAA or Findlay Prep would comment on the specifics that led to Ndoye being named a partial qualifier for the 2013-14. On a Findlay Prep team that featured eight players who signed with Bowl Championship Series schools, Ndoye averaged seven points and seven rebounds this past season. Prior to attending Findlay Prep, Ndoye spent a season at Faith Baptist Christian High School in Brandon, Fla.
"Fallou is a real solid player and a guy that goes about his work the right way," Findley Prep coach Todd Simon said. "He is also one of the best bigs running the floor that we've had here. He is a high-energy guy that gets up and down the floor well. He defends the screen and roll well, too, and is a defensive presence inside. He is very athletic and a guy that finishes above the rim."
The 6-foot-11, 225-pound Ndoye chose MSU on Nov. 26 over the University of Southern California, Virginia Tech University, Auburn University, Texas A&M University and University of Cincinnati.
His signing was part of an initial four-man recruiting class during the early signing period that joined point guard I.J. Ready along with forwards Travis Daniels and Quantel Denson.
Denson was eventually removed from the team before he ever arrived on campus for what the MSU program determined was a unspecified violation of team rules.
"Fallou was our No. 1 target in filling our front court needs," MSU coach Rick Ray said in November. "He has a long, big, active body that will continue to get better because he plays and works hard. We needed a difference maker on the back end our defense that also possessed the ability to out-run the defense in transition. We believe that Fallou answers both needs."
While being without the services of Ndoye for this season, MSU will still have 2013 All-Southeastern Conference freshman team selection Gavin Ware and fifth-year senior Wendell Lewis at center. Lewis was granted an additional year of eligibility by the conference via a medical hardship waiver after suffering a severe knee injury just eight games into last season.
"We are pleased that the SEC has granted Wendell another year of eligibility," MSU coach Rick Ray said on June 25. "I really believe that Wendell needed another year in our program to improve on the court because he was just beginning to make strides right before his injury after coming off two straight games where he scored career highs. This move is beneficial for both Wendell and our basketball program."