Highly touted freshman Billy Preston leaves Kansas without ever playing a game

The Dagger

Kansas freshman Billy Preston’s college career is over without ever playing a game that counted in the standings.

A Bosnian professional team announced Saturday that it has signed Preston, ending a lengthy wait for the NCAA to decide whether or not to clear the highly touted former McDonald’s All-American’s to play this season.

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“We were watching his situation closely and reached out to his family to show interest and ultimately reached an agreement with the family attorney in California on a contract for the rest of the season,” BC Ikogea said Saturday in a news release. “We know Billy is an NBA prospect so we will do our best to continue his development to help him excel for our club and fulfill his goal, which is to be an NBA star in the near future.”

Kansas coach Bill Self subsequently confirmed the news in a statement.

Preston had been expected to be an immediate impact player for Kansas, but the skilled 6-foot-10 freshman never suited up for a single regular season game. He sat out the Jayhawks’ season opener for what Self described as punishment for missing class and violating curfew. Then Kansas announced before its Nov. 15 game against Kentucky that it was holding out Preston after a one-car accident on campus prompted the school to look into the “financial picture” of the vehicle he was driving.

Fearful that the NCAA to strip the school of any victories to which Preston contributed, Kansas opted to sit the talented freshman rather than risk using an ineligible player. The university reported the findings of its compliance department to the NCAA before Christmas and has been awaiting resolution ever since.

Now Kansas has resolution, though it’s not what anyone in Lawrence wanted.

Preston will begin his professional career and hope to establish himself as a viable NBA prospect in time for next June’s draft. Kansas will remain perimeter-oriented for the rest of the season, with guard Svi Mykhailiuk continuing to slide over to power forward and Silvio De Sousa and Mitch Lightfoot serving as the only frontcourt depth behind starting center Udoka Azubuike.

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Jeff Eisenberg is a college basketball writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at daggerblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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