No one on the Kansas basketball team has known Sean Tunstall longer than Macolm Nash, and no one was more disappointed about Tunstall's ineligibility.
"It was a surprise because I was looking forward to him coming back," said Nash, a 6-7 senior who was also Tunstall's teammate at Vashon High in St. Louis. "It's a big disappointment."
KU coach Roy Williams confirmed at his weekly media session on Wednesday afternoon that Tunstall, a 6-2 senior guard, wasn't eligible to enroll for the spring semester because he was on probation during the fall semester and didn't achieve the required grade point average.
Kansas students on probation must make a 2.0 GPA or higher, or they must sit out a semester. In order to enroll at Kansas next fall, Tunstall would have to submit at least six hours of C or better from another school or from correspondence courses, then reapply for admission.
TUNSTALL HAS one more year to complete his NCAA eligibility, according to Richard Konzem, KU's assistant athletic director for compliance.
Williams didn't sound like Tunstall was in his plans for the 1992-93 season, however.
"Right now I am not planning on him being here," Williams said.
Tunstall averaged 5.7 points and 2.6 rebounds per game as a junior last season. He didn't play as a freshman because of NCAA academic guidelines. He also sat out his sophomore year because the NCAA found irregularities in his standardized test score.
Tunstall was eligible to participate during the fall semester. Williams suspended him, however, for violating team and departmental policies. Tunstall wasn't even allowed to practice.
"I had hoped it would inspire him to do better academically," Williams said.
Tunstall's failure to respond, Williams said, ". . .really bothered me. It also made me mad. It's frustrating because he could help us, and it's more frustrating because of what basketball means to him."
TUNSTALL WAS a key reserve on last year's NCAA Final Four team. He played in all 35 games and ranked sixth on the squad in minutes. Tunstall played especially well in NCAA Southeast Regional victories over Indiana and Arkansas. He scored 11 points off the bench against the Razorbacks. That was the game that sent KU to the Final Four.
"Sean has some ability and he's a nice young man," Williams said. "He's the most athletic guard we had defensively, and at times he can do things offensively, too."
Junior guard Rex Walters roomed with Tunstall last year, and probably summed up the feelings of his teammates when he said: "I wish him the best. He's a great friend and teammate. I'm there if he needs me."
Kansas' next game is Saturday night at Colorado. The Buffs won last year in Boulder, 79-71. "That was the only game where over the course of 40 minutes we didn't show up to play," Williams said.
Williams, asked about reserve guard Steve Woodberry's career-high 19-point peformance at Missouri on Monday night, said it. "I've been trying to give him confidence for three or four weeks. If that game doesn't give him confidence, he's in bad shape."
Williams cited KU's poise and bench in reflecting on the 92-80 overtime triumph in Columbia. "That's probably as loud a Missouri crowd as I've heard in four years," he said. In noting that four Jayhawks fouled out, Williams said, "We almost ran out of depth, but not quite."