Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Reinstated Whaley available to play



By Bill Koch
The Cincinnati Enquirer

University of Cincinnati junior center Robert Whaley has been reinstated and will be available to play in the NCAA Tournament this week.

The Bearcats play East Tennessee State Friday afternoon in Columbus in a first-round game.

[img]
Robert Whaley is eligible to play in the NCAA Tournament this week.
(Jeff Swinger/file photo)
UC made the announcement Tuesday afternoon. Brian Teter, UC's associate athletic director, said before the announcement that Whaley was off-limits to the media.

Whaley returned to practice Monday for the first time since he left the team for personal reasons Feb. 23.

"Rob came back and asked his teammates and coaches for another chance," UC coach Bob Huggins said in a prepared statement. "We believe he will do all the things it takes to be a part of the Bearcat basketball family again."

Huggins declined further comment on the situation.

UC has won six of its seven games since Whaley left the team.

Whaley, a 6-foot-10 center who was a two-time junior college All-American at Barton County (Kan.) Community College before transferring to UC this year, averaged 6.2 points and 2.7 rebounds in 20 games before he left the team.

He started the Bearcats' first three games before undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery Dec. 3, but none since then.

Whaley scored a season-high 17 points in UC's win at Houston Feb. 7.

"I really appreciate the support of my teammates and coaches in allowing me to come back to the team," Whaley said in the prepared statement.

"I want to do everything I can to help the team and I am looking forward to working hard and helping the team in the future."

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E-mail bkoch@enquirer.com




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