Arkansas' chances to return to the NCAA tournament or challenge for the SEC West title were dealt a crushing blow when junior guard Patrick Beverley was deemed ineligible to compete for the Razorbacks next season.
The school announced late Friday that Beverley would not play for the Razorbacks this season but offered no details. But multiple sources close to the program told ESPN.com that Beverley was academically ineligible to compete for Arkansas. Sources said Beverley wouldn't be transferring to another school but is considering whether or not to stay in Fayetteville for the year or become a professional and secure a contract overseas.
Beverley was the Razorbacks' leading returning scorer at 12.1 points a game. He was the team's top rebounder last season at 6.6 a game. Arkansas, a No. 9 seed in the NCAA tournament, beat Indiana in the first round in Raleigh and then lost to top-seeded North Carolina. The Hogs finished 23-13, 9-7 in the SEC in John Pelphrey's first season as head coach.
Beverley's ineligibility was tough to take for the Hogs' staff, according to sources, since they had invested time in helping Beverley become more focused in life over the past two seasons. Beverley was the SEC's newcomer of the year as a freshman and following his freshman season he led the USA Basketball 19-and-under team to a silver medal at the World Championships in Serbia. Beverley led the team in scoring (13 ppg), assists (3.2) and steals (3.4) and was second in rebounding (5.3). He set a USA basketball record with 31 steals during the tournament.
Not having the 6-1 Beverley will put even more pressure on 6-2 junior Stefan Welsh and 6-10 Michael Washington to produce more next season, according to a source close to the program. Welsh and Washington scored 5.3 and 4.3 points, respectively, last season. The Hogs were already losing four of their top five scorers in last season's senior forwards Sonny Weems, Darian Townes, Charles Thomas and guard Gary Ervin.
The news of Beverley's ineligibility comes less than a week after Pelphrey reportedly received a new contract and a raise to push his salary to $795,000 a year, over the next four years.
Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com.