NORMAL — What Illinois State basketball coach Dan Muller said he knew was a possibility when recruiting MiKyle McIntosh has become a reality.
Muller announced Thursday that McIntosh, a 6-foot-7, 230-pound freshman forward from Canada, has been declared a non-qualifier by the NCAA and won’t be eligible to play or practice with the Redbirds this season. McIntosh, who was not available for comment, will have four years of eligibility with the Redbirds beginning with the 2014-15 season.
“We’ve been working on this for four months, so it’s not a slap in the face,” said Muller. “Obviously, I’m extremely disappointed for him. He’s a great kid … and is in this situation due to no fault of his own.”
McIntosh, who played for 22ft Academy last season while attending Breathitt County High School in Jackson, Ky., signed with ISU in May. The NCAA Eligibility Center determined some of the coursework McIntosh completed during his high school enrollment could not be used to meet Division I initial-eligibility requirements.
ISU appealed to the NCAA on McIntosh’s behalf, trying to get a waiver. The NCAA provided partial relief and allowed McIntosh to be on scholarship immediately, but not practice or play this season.
McIntosh was able to partake in ISU’s first official practices of the fall Monday and Tuesday before the NCAA came down with its final decision.
Another ISU freshman, 6-8 forward Deontae “Teddy” Hawkins, also has been declared a non-qualifier for this season and can’t partake in team activities on the court. McIntosh and Hawkins figure to spend plenty of time together in the next eight months.
“I think it can certainly help that they work together, motivate each other and push each other (in their own workouts outside the team),” said Muller.
McIntosh, a native of Pickering, Ontario, attended Christian Faith Center Academy in Creedmoor, N.C., in the 2011-12 school year where he played with ISU sophomore guard Kaza Keane. The pair helped the under-17 Ontario team to the Canadian national championship in 2011 and were teammates this summer for the Canadian Junior National Team during the Under-19 World Championships in the Czech Republic.
While at 22ft Academy last season, McIntosh averaged 17.6 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.2 assists while shooting 46 percent from the field and 78 percent at the free throw line. He drew recruiting interest from high-major schools such as UCLA, Miami (Fla.), Florida, Seton Hall and Oregon.
McIntosh figured to play on the wing for ISU, but also could have helped inside. After signing McIntosh, Muller said “he’s a very good athlete and can handle the ball well for his size. He’s really unique for our team and our conference.”
ISU, which has only two players with Division I experience, will make its first public appearance during the Redbird Hoopfest on Oct. 15 at Redbird Arena. The lone exhibition game will be Nov. 3 against Quincy before the season opener Nov. 8 at Virginia Commonwealth.