Stewart, two others possibly off UK team

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.

13 comments ↓

#1 » Report: Calipari has talked to 3 not coming back John Clay’s Sidelines on 05.22.09 at 7:30 pm

[…] Jerry Tipton is reporting that A.J. Stewart has been told he will not be on the team next […]

#2 KyBubba on 05.22.09 at 7:31 pm

If a player has his scholarship non-renewed (or, ie, is fired), does the 1 year rule on sitting out still apply since it was the school decision to release the player because it picked up better players? Or is the player able to transfer an play immediately in that situation? Anyone know?

#3 Jim on 05.22.09 at 7:42 pm

If an athlete decides he does not like the school, the coach, the system, or his playing time does he not have the right to leave anytime? He’s not committed to 4 years so why should the school be?

#4 Jerry Tipton: AJ Stewart’s scholarship will not be renewed on 05.22.09 at 8:09 pm

[…] to guess, the press conference tomorrow will be an official announcement of this decision, which Jerry Tipton says has already been made. Other players’ departures could be announced as […]

#5 Jim on 05.22.09 at 8:11 pm

I have thought from the beginning that A.J. Stewart, Kevin Galloway,DeAndre Liggins,and Josh Harrellson; would not be coming back. But, I did not know Williams had a scholarship. That would give us 12 counting Meeks. Holding one over for next year! Maybe someone else? But I think we will have 12 scholarship players, next season. Maybe two or three walkons.

#6 Catlanta32 on 05.22.09 at 8:15 pm

The NCAA should allow these student athletes to transfer without penalty. If the athlete is not leaving on his/her own accord and it is not due to academics or team violations they should be able to transfer to any school that they choose. If the student athlete loses credits because of the transfer the Univesity who asked he/she to leave should have to pay for the extra semesters that it will take the athlete to graduate. The University has everything to gain while the student athlete has everything to lose. I agree that the new coach should have final say on the roster but the student athlete should not be punished.

#7 Bill Katz on 05.22.09 at 9:13 pm

Others are reporting the Saturday morning press conference is not basketball related. Speculation seems to focus on the football team. Any news or update on that?

#8 jrandolph on 05.22.09 at 10:06 pm

Heard Perry Stevenson might be considering transfering to Kentucky Wesleyan College in Owensboro Kentucky. Can anyone confirm this?

#9 kprice64 on 05.23.09 at 8:25 am

Stewart quit the team how many times last season? Williams and Stewart should be two of the three that lose scholarships, but it really won’t feel good to see some of the other kids get dumped for the hyped-all-star players. As much as I am excited about Coach Cal, I think the over-stacked roster and subsequent shedding of team members was overkill. Even after lightening the number of players there will be several unhappy about their lack of play time. I agree with Catlanta on not punishing those that are leaving.

#10 ukfmly on 05.23.09 at 10:53 am

I agree totally with Catlanta. Do not punish these young men who came here for our enjoyment. Lest also try to avoid badmouthing young men who’s lives are getting torn apart and did nothing to cause this to happen. In the wake of BG’s firing we find out he was a jerk some players handled him better than others we should not badmouth the ones who had a tough time. GO CATS

#11 The Big Blue Daily Mail — News for Kentucky Wildcat fans, May 23rd 2009 | MrSEC.com on 05.23.09 at 3:08 pm

[…] Tipton speculates on possible scholarship […]

#12 Honor on 05.23.09 at 5:51 pm

It is wrong not to honor the scholarships given to the players.

The players worked hard on a team that won more than three out of five games last year.

Had they been arrested for breaking and entering or not maintained academic eligibility, then there might be a case for taking away their scholarships.

But these players played with honor. Why not treat them with honor.

Where is the honor?

#13 eddie on 05.24.09 at 3:47 pm

no these players shouldnt be punished ,but someone has to go the players that are not contributing and have a scholarships are the ones that should go first