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The Roburt Sallie Story

Aloha from A Sea of Blue mobile headquarters in Makaha, Hawai'i.  Still no Roderick Flemings sightings, I'm sorry to report.

Just in case you haven't heard, another JUCO combo guard, Roburt Sallie, is expected to visit UK this weekend according to Jim Tirey of The Cats Pause.  So who is Roburt Sallie and what is his story?  That, friends and neighbors, is the $65,000 question, and quite frankly, has an astonishingly convoluted answer full of incompetence, bizarre and obscure rules, and a typically clueless NCAA clearinghouse trying to do its job far too well.

This article at The Bleacher Report has the distinction of being the only one I have really ever linked from there as a well-written and authoritative source.  In it, the author describes the tale of how Sallie worked hard to come to Nebraska, apparently doing all he was asked by the NCAA regulations and the school.  Due to the "diploma mill" stigma that a number of prep schools have received from the NCAA (deservedly so, in many cases), prepping can be a road into an ever more convoluted NCAA qualification maze.  This is just a fact of life.

But that's just the beginning.  With the NCAA Clearinghouse reviewing Sallie's qualifications to matriculate to Nebraska, Nebraska apparently allowed Sallie to attend some classes in preparation for his presumed approval by the Clearinghouse.  Perversely, though, the Clearinghouse demanded an extraordinary amount of proof from Sallie in the form of "homework papers and copies of tests."  Eventually, the Clearinghouse declared Sallie ineligible, and Sallie went to City College of San Francisco with the full intention of returning to Nebraska.

Unfortunately, the Big 12 has a rule that essentially says student athletes cannot enroll in school unless they meet the initial athletic eligibility standards, which apparently happened instead of just permitting Sallie to attend classes.  If the school breaks that rule, the affected player can never, ever play at that institution, nor any other school in the Big 12 conference.

So Sallie is forever banned from playing in the Big 12 due to administrative incompetence and hyper-stringent regulation (in this writer's opinion, at least).  There should at least be an appeal's process for this, but quite honestly, Nebraska's loss will likely be Kentucky's (or some other school on his list) gain -- and Sallie has an impressive list, including Memphis, Cincinnati, and Maryland.

The author of the Bleacher Report article says that Sallie was "easily the most anticipated basketball recruit since Tyronn Lue."  For any of you that don't remember Lue, he turned out to be the #23 overall pick in an early-entry draft and an NBA starter.  If Sallie is only half the player Lue turned out to be, he is more than good enough to play at Kentucky.

So Sallie is an intriguing prospect for the Wildcats, and yet another possible JUCO player for Billy Gillispie, who has two JUCOs already committed.  Also keep in mind that Internet and YouTube sensation Hunter McClintock will be in Lexington this weekend to attend the Elite camp put on by Gillispie.

The recruiting excitement never seems to end here at Kentucky, and compared with the almost opaque recruiting methods of Tubby Smith's years here, it is an interesting, and from a blogging standpoint welcome, change.  Gillispie seems to almost enjoy the buzz created whenever a new recruit comes on his radar, and I think it is working out very well for him in the off season.  Gillispie even has guys like North Carolina fan and Loathsome Troll Jeff Goodman spooked to the extend that the articles coming out of that black pit of despair he calls a blog have swung over to the highly negative and skeptical.

For my money, that means Coach Gillispie is doing it right.