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Fresno State’s basketball future hinges on one man…

[rekalin+sims.jpg]…and that man is former Wildcat Rekalin Sims. 

Fresno State will never be confused for Harvard, nor will its players ever be mistaken for members of the Peace Corps. That is, of course, unless the Peace Corp starts carrying around samurai swords or holding people at gunpoint.  Then, they might have a shot.  So, it was no surprise that Fresno State once again found themselves in the NCAA’s doghouse when they released their APR ratings for the past four years and the Bulldogs found themselves with a score of 885, which is 40 points lower than what is required and 20 points lower than last year. So, even though it was much better than their score of 611 (that is not a typo, it’s really 611) in 2003-04, Fresno State was stripped of a scholarship and saw their allowed hours of practice per week drop from 20 to 16.

This is all well and good, I guess, except that the NCAA reduces your scholarship count based on the number of scholarships that you used on average over the four year period they judge. Again, no big deal unless you are a program already sanctioned and not using your scholarships. So, basically the Bulldogs are down to 10 players and heading for losing another one next year unless one man can step up to the plate and graduate. They’ve hung their future scholarship hopes on the broad shoulders of a guy who logged exactly zero minutes as a Bulldog.

That man is former Wildcat Rekalin Sims. After leaving UK after one season and heading out west, Sims found himself academically ineligible and then in a bit of trouble when he was charged with two felony counts related to him being the driver in the robbery of a Fresno man. The charges were later dropped, but Sims was never allowed back on the team, deciding instead to remain on scholarship and attend school. So, since he’s still considered a scholarship player, the Bulldogs are counting on him to finish out his degree and help them start the long climb out of NCAA purgatory.

I’d like to throw some props to Sims for sticking it out and also to the school for letting him finish out his education, but there’s part of me that wants to hold back. Call me skeptical, but I’m not sure he’d still be there if the school wasn’t facing these penalties.  Maybe it’s just the whole “Fresno State” element that makes me want to doubt the feel-good factor of this story.  Either way, Sims is on pace to get his degree and looks like he’s moving on from the troubles he ran into once he left Kentucky and moved back home to California, so good for him.

Article written by Thomas Beisner