If one had to guess, one would say that incoming Kansas freshmen Ben McLemore and Jamari Traylor will not be eligible to play in their freshmen season. The NCAA is reviewing both players' eligibility cases, and there hasn't been much news; this late in the calendar, that's not a good sign.
They have been able to attend classes and play in unofficial pick-up games on campus, but they can't do much more than that until the NCAA rules. In the meantime, Bill Self doesn't sound very optimistic. He just hopes the two can get to enjoy the festivities planned for Friday evening, when Kansas hosts its Late Night in the Phog event (at 6:30 p.m. CT time, which is not a very late night at all). The Lawrence Journal-World got the scoop from Self at Kansas's media day Thursday:
“They won’t participate in practice. I just want them to come out there and be a part of the team, and I don’t see how that affects anything,” Self said. “But based on the information we have right now, that determination has not been made whether or not they can come out there and be a part of the festivities with no regard to practice. I don’t understand that one, so that’s one we’ll continue to fight for until Late Night to see if that can happen, because they deserve that.”
I tend to agree with Self. It's hard to find a good reason why McLemore and Traylor shouldn't be allowed to participate in the goofy parts of Late Night in the Phog. Sure, it's technically a practice, and I guess their participation in a choreographed dance move is technically still participation. But there doesn't seem to be much harm afoot here.
Either way, forget "Blue Plate Dinner Hour at the Phog." Kansas fans will be more interested in whether McLemore and Traylor will be able to contribute at all in the 2011-12 season. McLemore in particular is worth watching: He's one of the top 15 small forwards in the incoming class, and there was a good chance his three-point stroke and athletic wing play would have allowed him to be a major contributor on a Kansas team that lost huge swaths of its backcourt (especially uber-competent three-point specialists Brady Morningstar and Tyrel Reed) to graduation last season.
Losing out on Midnight Madness festivities is a bummer. Losing out on the entire season? That's the real issue here.