Academically ineligible Clinch to sit out Jackets' first seven games

ATLANTA -- Georgia Tech has been dealt another blow to its backcourt in advance of the coming season.

Guard Lewis Clinch will miss at least the first seven games of his senior season because he is academically ineligible.

Coach Paul Hewitt announced on Friday that the 6-foot-3 Clinch would not play during the fall semester, which ends Dec. 12. He can return to the team after that if he regains his eligibility.

Last month, the program announced senior guard and team captain D'Andre Bell would have season-ending surgery to correct a spinal condition. The 6-foot-6 Bell, regarded as the Yellow Jackets' top defensive player, has said he still hopes to complete his college career in the 2009-10 season.

Clinch started 14 of 32 games last season and averaged 9.0 points. Lance Storrs, a 6-foot-5 sophomore who averaged seven minutes a game last season, likely will get a more expanded role.

Georgia Tech opens the season next Friday against Winston-Salem State.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.