TUCSON, Ariz. -- Sophomore guard Jawann McClellan is
academically ineligible to play for Arizona until at least
McClellan and coach Lute Olson revealed his status at the team's
media day on Tuesday. McClellan was a major contributor off the
bench for last season's 30-7 team and had expected to contend for a
He was attending summer school but dropped out to be with his
family in the Houston area following his father's fatal heart
attack on June 12. McClellan re-enrolled but withdrew again.
Arizona's appeal to the NCAA was denied.
"I was surprised by the decision," McClellan said. "I came
back this summer to try to make up one hour that I needed. I really
just couldn't concentrate."
If he meets eligibility requirements during the fall semester,
McClellan can rejoin the team after missing the first seven games.
That would make him eligible for the team's Dec. 17 contest at
"I know my dad is probably disappointed I am ineligible just
because of the simple fact that I didn't handle my business this
summer," McClellan said. "It was too hard to sit there and
The 6-foot-4 McClellan averaged 5.8 points and three rebounds as
a freshman last season. In the Wildcats' seven postseason games, he
averaged 8.9 points and four rebounds.
McClellan said he had thought about transferring to Texas to be
closer to his family and friends, but after meeting with Olson
decided to come back to the Wildcats.
"When he heard about the situation he told me I didn't have to
come back and play. He just wanted me to get healthy," McClellan
said. "He said if I wanted to transfer they would grant the
transfer. He was there for me. When you have a person who wants you
to get well and not worry about the basketball end of it, and cares
about you, it helps."
His absence will allow others more time on the court, including
senior Chris Rogers, sophomore Jesus Verdejo and freshmen J.P.
Prince and Marcus Williams. Rogers is ahead of schedule in his
recovery from a knee injury. He had been expected to miss the first
month of the season, but Olson said he could be back in the next
few days. With McClellan out, there will be more opportunities for
"Jawann has really handled the situation well," Olson said.
"The big thing is it will give some other guys opportunities to
get minutes. In the long run it may make our team stronger."