Nolen ruled academically ineligible

The starting point guard will likely miss Saturday’s game versus Michigan State.

Michael Rietmulder

The NCAA has ruled University of Minnesota menâÄôs basketball player Al Nolen academically ineligible. The University is appealing the decision. NolenâÄôs ineligibility became effective Tuesday, the first day of the semester. âÄúWe wonâÄôt have any comment whatsoever until we hear back from the NCAA,âÄù team spokesman Matt Slieter said. Slieter said it is unknown how long the appeal process will take. âÄúObviously, if we donâÄôt hear back from the NCAA, he canâÄôt play Saturday,âÄù Slieter said. The Gophers host No. 6 Michigan State at 11 a.m. Saturday for a Big Ten matchup. The junior point guard is averaging 6.7 points and 4.7 assists per game and is tied for the team lead in minutes per game. The Gophers will especially miss NolenâÄôs defensive aptitude. NolenâÄôs 2.39 steals per game average is the highest in the Big Ten. Sophomore Devoe Joseph and freshman Justin Cobbs are likely to share point guard duties in NolenâÄôs absence. Head coach Tubby Smith is also without freshman and junior forwards Royce White and Trevor Mbakwe . Both players are suspended indefinitely pending their respective legal issues. On Wednesday, White participated in practice with the team for the first time in months. âÄúHeâÄôs still suspended indefinitely. The only difference is that he is now practicing,âÄù Slieter said.