Pete DiPrimio, sports columnist and college beat writer for The News-Sentinel of Fort Wayne, Ind., takes his best shots on the world of Hoosier basketball.

Saturday, August 25

Academics Cost Ratliff First Semester

The rumors are true. Indiana senior guard A.J. Ratliff will miss the first semester –- nine games in all –- because of academic ineligibility.

Ratliff also had right wrist surgery over the summer (he broke it during a pickup game), but that has healed to the point where he participated in today’s first practice in preparation for next weekend’s trip to the Bahamas. He can work out with the team during this semester, but he can't play in any games.

Coach Kelvin Sampson said that he has stressed to Ratliff the importance of graduating.

"I told him if he graduates from IU, he has a chance to have a productive life," Sampson said. "That's our goal for him. That's his goal."

If Ratliff meets his academic requirements, he’ll be eligible to play starting with the Dec. 15 Western Carolina game. Games missed include Georgia Tech, Southern Illinois and Kentucky.

Ratliff's problems stemmed from the second semester. He passed a pair of summer classes.

Ratliff, a former Indiana Mr. Basketball, has averaged 6.3 points and 2.3 rebounds during his career.

Also, senior forward Lance Stemler is fully recovered from last spring’s ankle surgery. He and D.J. White are co-captains.

Finally, the Hoosiers have added a walk-on. He is sophomore guard Brett Finkelmeier from Carmel. He tried out as a wak-on last year. He didn't make it, but impressed the coaches enough to get an opportunity this season.


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