I believe forward A.J. Stewart has been told he will not have a scholarship to play for Kentucky next season.
At least two other UK players may have gotten the same message.
We may find out officially on Saturday morning. UK has called a 10 a.m. news conference. School officials refuse to say what will be announced.
But the timing of the press conference suggests something UK wants to quietly dispose of. An announcement on Saturday morning of a holiday weekend figures to bring fewer reporters to a press conference and be received by a distracted audience.
Scholarships are only one-year agreements between players and a school. The school holds the sole power to renew. Critics question the importance a school places on education when a player loses a scholarship because a better player can be added to the team.
I believe Stewart, a happy-go-lucky personality, took the news well. He understands that a coaching change can cause rosters to shuffle. He can now explore other options. He’ll have two seasons of eligibility remaining.
After this past season, UK fired Billy Gillispie as coach and hired John Calipari.
In his first two months on the job, Calipari completed a recruiting class that was considered good and now gets rated among the best in recent years.
But the recruiting left Kentucky with a roster that surpasses the 13-scholarship limit. If Jodie Meeks decides to return to UK next season, the Cats would have 17 players who had a claim to a scholarship.
Stewart, who averaged 2.0 points and 1.2 rebounds last season as a sophomore, does not figure to be the only holdover player to leave. A person close to Stewart said he had been told that two other players would be leaving.
Speculation has centered on guards Donald Williams and Kevin Galloway. Williams, a last-minute recruit for Gillispie, did not play last season. Galloway, a junior college transfer, failed to secure a starting position on a team that struggled with ball-handling and decision-making.
Questions have also been raised about DeAndre Liggins, a highly-regarded freshman who struggled to make the transition from high school star to college contributor, and Josh Harrellson, who would face intense competition for playing time in a revamped front line that includes highly regarded freshmen DeMarcus Cousins and Daniel Orton, plus veterans Patrick Patterson and Perry Stevenson.