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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Negedu released from letter of intent

    Emmanuel Negedu
    Emmanuel Negedu

    Emmanuel Negedu won’t be a Wildcat next season.

    The UA athletics department announced Tuesday morning that the men’s basketball forward will be granted an immediate and full release from his letter of intent.

    The 6-foot-7, 230-pounder signed with the Wildcats during the November Early Signing Period. Negedu, who prepped at Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, N.H., was ranked No. 11 among power forwards and No. 31 overall, according to rivals.com, when he signed with the school. The four-star recruit is currently ranked No. 13 and No. 40, respectively.

    “”We want young people that sign letters of intent to honor those and be here,”” said UA athletics director Jim Livengood. “”But there’s circumstances beyond that and there are other issues.””

    UA head coach Lute Olson visited Negedu in the Boston area this past weekend, but couldn’t convince the Nigeria native to attend the UA.

    Livengood, who said the process of releasing a player is “”very simple and there’s not a big process to it at all,”” said he had the final say as to whether or not to release Negedu, though he did discuss it with Olson.

    Olson is not issuing comment on the situation, said Arizona associate media relations director Richard Paige.

    With the release, Negedu is able to commit to another school and play for it next season. If the UA allowed him a “”non-release,”” Negedu would have been allowed to play somewhere else without financial aid and he would have had to sit a year out and lose a year of eligibility, Livengood said. If the school did not release him, he would have been forced to attend Arizona for four years unless he successfully appealed, got a junior college degree or opted to leave for professional basketball.

    “”In this particular case, we felt that the young man should be released,”” Livengood said.

    Though he didn’t have any hard numbers at hand, Bill Morgan, UA associate director of athletics for compliance, said the university averaged an estimated one to three releases per year over the past three years for all UA varsity sports. Morgan said the amount of granted releases has increased over the past three years.

    Morgan said instead of releases being granted by a steering committee run by the Collegiate Conference Assocation Compliance Administrators (CCACA), which would look at the cases and rule whether or not to grant a release, the NCAA has gotten involved and has given each university its own power.

    Andre Iguodala, as Morgan pointed out, initially signed a national letter of intent to play for the University of Arkansas in 2001, but after head coach Nolan Richardson was fired, Iguodala requested a release and went to Arizona, where he was named to the Pacific 10 Conference All-Freshman team in 2002-03.

    Negedu, who didn’t return phone calls from the Daily Wildcat, told CBSSports.com that he’s considering attending Tennessee, Indiana, Georgia Tech and Memphis, where recently departed UA assistant coach Josh Pastner has accepted a job. Pastner is the one who did the bulk of the recruiting and helped Negedu to become Arizona’s first commit for 2008.

    UA assistant coach Russ Pennell said Monday that not all hope is lost for filling the void of Negedu before the 2008-09 season starts in the fall.

    “”I think the big thing is that with basketball, the way it is, it’s not just a nationwide game; it’s a world game,”” Pennell said. “”With the information age, you can find out lots of impressions. We have to find the right ones. Obviously your talent pools are a little shallow this time of year. I gotta believe there’s still some folks out there.””

    Livengood remained upbeat about the release of Negedu, saying tradition of Arizona will make up for the loss.

    “”The program speaks for itself,”” Livengood said. “”Arizona basketball is Arizona basketball. The University of Arizona is the University of Arizona. There’s an awful lot of people who would love to play for any of our athletic teams.””

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