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News & Record (Greensboro, North Carolina)
RALEIGH - After expressing his disappointment in an NCAA ruling on Monday, new N.C. State basketball coach Kevin Keatts spoke at length Wednesday about the decision that Braxton Beverly will be ineligible to play for the Wolfpack this season.
Because Beverly attended classes at Ohio State as a scholarship athlete starting in May, he was considered a transfer in the eyes of the NCAA. And the NCAA denied State's appeal that the freshman, who had been a postgraduate student at Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va., be eligible to play in the 2017-18 season, which will begin Nov. 10.
Beverly was recruited to Ohio State by coach Thad Matta, who was fired May 5, and he received a release from the Buckeyes program and followed former Hargrave coach A.W. Hamilton to State.
Keatts' comments about the ruling:
Q: Did you get any type of rationale or explanation from the NCAA on the Beverly decision or did they just say denied?
A: I'm very disappointed for the kid. What an amazing kid. The young man has made an unbelievable sacrifice. Any time you're able to go to a military school for two years ... he came back as a postgraduate so he would be prepared to step into any program and play right away, both on and off the floor and then academically.
It's a tough deal for him, because I've said all along, I don't consider Braxton Beverly a transfer. I consider Devon Daniels and C.J. Bryce transfers; both of those guys competed for another university last year, they both were full-time students. Certainly, Braxton is getting held up on a technicality because he got athletic-related aid. My suggestion has always been, if that's the case and the only reason he's being held up, give him the opportunity to be able to pay that back.
In our situation, we lost a young man, when I took the job, who decided he wanted to go elsewhere and we released him. We also got Lavar Batts because of that same situation. But, if he didn't start summer school or Ohio State didn't pay for him to start summer school, certainly he'd eligible anywhere in the country and to me that just doesn't sound right.
Q: Did you work with Ohio State on this, were they receptive?
A: Any time you file a waiver for any kid for any situation, especially a kid who went to another program, you always have to get a 'yes' or a 'no' permission from the other program. Ohio State was fine, they agreed on it, they agreed with our waiver and they were OK with it. Even to the point where Thad Matta ... wrote a letter in support of Braxton, saying that the reason why the kid came early is because his staff made him come early because they got a vote of confidence that they were going to return.
Q: How's Beverly handling the situation?
A: It's tough; I mean, he's really struggling because at the end of the day, Braxton ... he trusted in a lot of adults. For a young man who has done nothing wrong, you've got to understand that this is a kid who left Hargrave Military Academy with about a 3.6 GPA. The only reason he could go to Ohio State early was because of the fact that he was already a graduate, he had done everything that he was supposed to. So, for him, he's got a lot of trust issues right now, and I think he's a little depressed about it because he wanted the opportunity to come in and play right away, and he deserves to play.
Q: What have you told him about what his role will have to be this year now?
A: I haven't. Something, a little piece of me, is - still, even though we've filed a waiver and an appeal - a little piece of me is still holding hope out that somebody sees that this kid deserves to play. I really haven't talked to him as far as what (his) role is. I don't want to go down the road with the young man; he just found out a couple of days (ago). He's thinking he's got a great opportunity to be able to play this year, and this happens.
Contact Brant Wilkerson-New at 336-373-7008.
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