The NCAA has informed West Virginia that recruit Volodymyr Gerun must sit out six regular-season games, a suspension resulting from his brief appearances in three professional games in Europe.
Gerun, who signed with the Mountaineers in late August but sat out the Oct. 19 preseason scrimmage while awaiting word from the NCAA Clearinghouse, is now practicing with the team and will become eligible for the Dec. 8 game against Virginia Tech. The 6-foot-10, 240-pounder is a sophomore whom coach Bob Huggins has repeatedly labeled WVU’s most skilled big man.
Gerun appeared briefly for the Dnipro Dnepropetrovsk team of the Ukraine Superleague in 2011. The team’s website shows Gerun appeared in two games and averaged one minute of action per appearance. A West Virginia sports information release on Monday cited Gerun’s appearance in three games.
The school announced the NCAA’s ruling only 90 minutes after Huggins characterized Gerun’s eligibility situation as “a definite we-don’t-know.” The coach seemed resigned to the outcome Gerun would receive some level of early season suspension, saying “most guys who come over get something.”
The NCAA has softened its penalties on foreign players in recent seasons. WVU senior forward Deniz Kilicli was ineligible for 20 games during his freshman season in 2009-10 after the NCAA decided he violated amateurism rules by playing on a Turkish club team that included a professional player.
Now, it is Kilicli who is trying to counsel Gerun through the uncertainty of the Clearinghouse period.
“He’s homesick right now, and you get homesick when stuff is going bad. When everything is really good you don’t get homesick,” Kilicli said. “He got six games — it’s not that big of a deal, man. You know? I had 20.”
“I’ve been there and I’m like, ‘Anytime you want to talk to me, you can talk to me.’ I’m trying to help him as much as I can from my experience that I had as a freshman. I don’t know how much I’m helping him or how much it makes him feel better, but I’m trying my best.”
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