CRAWFORD | NCAA clears Louisville's Aaron to begin play on Dec. - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | NCAA clears Louisville's Aaron to begin play on Dec. 20

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GoCards.com photo. GoCards.com photo.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — University of Louisville freshman Shaqquan Aaron finally got some good news from the NCAA initial-eligibility clearinghouse after a lengthy process, but won't suit up for his first regular-season game until the Cardinals visit Western Kentucky on Dec. 20.

Aaron, a 6-7 guard from Seattle, was the No. 16 ranked player and the No. 2-ranked shooting guard in the nation by 247Sports, and had 18 points in U of L's second intrasquad scrimmage.

Cardinals' coach Rick Pitino said before the season he expected Aaron to be cleared by the NCAA at any time, but grew increasingly irritated as the NCAA began to have questions over benefits Aaron's family allegedly received during his high school career.

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“It's been a very frustrating ordeal because the amateurism status is something I don't quite understand,” Pitino said a week ago in addressing the situation. “I am the opposite of most coaches. I sort of agree with the NCAA a lot and a lot of things they do. I couldn't disagree with them more on this case than with any player I've ever coached.”

According to a statement from U of L, the NCAA, “determined that his family received extra benefits related to housing.  He must sit out the first nine games — 30 percent of the season — and will have repayment and community service hours to fulfill his reinstatement.”

Aaron will be with the team when it faces Indiana tonight in Madison Square Garden, but won't play in that game, or the Cards' home game against North Carolina Wilmington on Dec. 14.

Aaron is a skilled offensive player, but needs to develop more muscle, according to Pitino, and hadn't practiced well in recent weeks, in part over discouragement about his eligibility. He has continued to practice with the team as the NCAA has worked through his eligibility issues.

Aaron should be able to help a team that has struggled from the perimeter in recent games, and gives the team added length in the backcourt and possibly at small forward.

A two-time first-team AP Class 3A all-state selection and the Washington state player of the year as a senior, he averaged 19.7 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 7.5 assists last season in leading Rainier Beach High School to the Washington Class 3A state championship.

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