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Big Z still isn’t cleared by NCAA and can’t play against outside competition


Zvonimir Ivisic. Big Z. Dylan Ballard - A Sea Of Blue

During Wednesday’s Media Day, John Calipari said the Kentucky Wildcats would likely be without Zvonimir Ivisic for Friday’s exhibition game vs. Georgetown College.

Initially, Calipari said it was to get Big Z up to speed since he’s only been practicing for a week. Calipari later said he’s hopeful Z will suit up next Thursday vs. Kentucky State.

However, UK issued a statement on Thursday that Z still isn’t cleared to play.

“As a department, we want to clarify, Zvonimir Ivišić has been cleared to practice and play in all intrasquad games. That said, he can not compete against outside competition, including exhibition games, until he is approved by the NCAA.

“There was miscommunication in this regard and, as we always do, we plan to adhere to NCAA rules. Until he is fully cleared, Zvonimir will be withheld from games against outside competition.”

So that’s that. Z isn’t playing until he’s cleared, which will hopefully happen soon but would probably be over by now if not for the whole admissions debacle.

In the meantime, Kentucky’s frontcourt is down to 6-foot-9 Tre Mitchell, 6-foot-8 Adou Thiero, and 6-foot-8 Jordan Burks. 6-foot-8 Justin Edwards also figures to play as a small-ball 4 a lot, even though he’s more of a wing. That’s pretty much the case with Burks, though he played almost exclusively at the 4 and 5 spots during the GLOBL Jam.

If you’re looking for a glimmer of positivity, this ordeal is forcing Calipari to play small and fast, something practically everyone has been begging of him for what feels like an eternity. We saw how fun Kentucky Basketball can be during the GLOBL Jam when the Cats played with tempo and shot a lot of threes.

Hopefully, that’s the kind of offense we see this season, at least while all the bigs are out.