This just in from U of L:
Louisville Freshman Center Gorgui Dieng Cleared to Play Immediately
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — University of Louisville freshman center Gorgui Dieng has been cleared by the NCAA to play immediately.
A 6-10 center from Kebemer, Sengal, Dieng had been awaiting an appeal of his freshman eligibility requirements for the last few weeks. He began practicing with the Cardinals immediately on Tuesday when the ruling came down.
Dieng averaged 15.4 points, 12.6 rebounds and 7.2 blocked shots as a senior last season at Huntington Prep. He was ranked 44th nationally in the 2010 class by Rivals.com and 46th in the nation by Scout.com. He was named the MVP of the Black Team in the 2010 Kentucky Derby Festival Basketball Classic all-star game played in Louisville’s Freedom Hall after producing 15 points, seven rebounds and eight blocked shots.
“I’m proud of the efforts of our compliance staff, but it’s all about the young man,” said U of L Vice President and Director of Athletics Tom Jurich. “He’s a good student, a good person and he is what college is all about.”
U of L Associate Athletic Director for Compliance Jody Sykes and Assistant to the Athletic Director Eric Scott did the bulk of the work in preparing the case for the NCAA’s review.
“We’re really excited on a number of fronts, but first for the young man,” said U of L Head Coach Rick Pitino. “He’s an extremely conscientious student, speaks five languages and is very concerned about his academic welfare. I always had confidence and was optimistic that the NCAA would clear him to play. It restores my faith in that if you do things the right way, things will work out. For the young man and for our program, it’s a big boost.
“With our style of play, when you’re running and pressing, having his length back there to alter and block shots is important. He’s a shot blocker, but is also is very skilled offensively. He’s got to work himself into our system because he’s missed a lot of practice. We’re super excited and so are our players.”
Dieng has a 7-4 wingspan and speaks five languages — his native Wolof, as well as Spanish, French, Italian and English.
“I was so happy,” said Dieng (pronounced GOR-gee Deng). “I had just come to this school and started practicing, and then they called me and said I couldn’t play. You don’t know how happy I am. I can’t wait to get in there and block some shots. I always said I was going to come back. I always said it. I’m just going to focus on listening to coach and playing. That’s what is most important for me: just listening to coach and playing.”
Dieng will make his first public appearance with the Cardinals when U of L faces Northern Kentucky in an exhibition game on Sunday, Oct. 31 at 2 p.m. in the KFC Yum! Center.
– Seedy K