Report: NCAA investigating eligibility of South Florida freshman John Egbunu

Saturday January 18th, 2014

John Egbunu John Egbunu is averaging 8.0 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.5 blocks for South Florida. (Derik Hamilton/Icon SMI)

The eligibility of South Florida freshman John Egbunu is being reviewed by the NCAA, sources told ESPN.

In a statement released Friday, USF acknowledged it had been contacted by the NCAA about one of its student-athletes but would not reveal his identity.

“We have been contacted and are aware of concerns involving one of our student-athletes. We have initiated a review of the matter and have asked the NCAA to assist us."

South Florida coach Stan Heath spoke to ESPN Friday about Egbunu’s status. "I feel confident in this matter. John's status has not changed," he said. "He will start Saturday against Cincinnati."

Linzy Davis, the coach of Egbunu's former AAU team, Georgia Elite, told ESPN that he has been in contact with the NCAA. Davis is a founder of of the National Elite Athletic Association Union, a group of preparatory schools with suspect academic standards. Egbunu reportedly lived at Davis’ home during his junior year of high school, but Davis told ESPN he has not recently spoken with Egbunu.

South Florida said in the statement that the student-athlete in question, believed to be Egbunu, was "completely certified and cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center prior to enrolling."

Egbunu signed with South Florida during his junior year with Davis’s son, Drew, who is attending prep school this season. Heath denied the assertion Davis made to ESPN that his son’s commitment was not honored by the South Florida coach, while Heath claimed Davis did not qualify academically for admission into South Florida.

In a Tweet sent out in December 2011, Davis described his son and Egbunu as “the new John Stockton/Karl Malone combination.” Egbuny was given a four-star rating and ranked No. 83 in the 2013 class by Rivals. Davis is not ranked in the site’s database. In 17 games for the 10-7 (1-3 AAC) Bulls this season, Egbunu is averaging 8.0 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 25.4 minutes.

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