Kansas University basketball fans who follow Braeden Anderson on Twitter and Facebook have helped lift the spirits of the fallen freshman with their supportive posts the past couple of days.
“I loved it. I loved it (reading messages). It has really helped me,” said Anderson, a 6-foot-8 power forward from Okotoks, Alberta, Canada, who learned Friday he had been ruled ineligible to be on scholarship at KU.
The NCAA Clearinghouse on Wednesday actually deemed Anderson to be a partial qualifier, which would make him eligible for financial aid and possibly earn the right to practice second semester but not play in games. However, Big 12 Conference policy requires all partial qualifiers to be approved by the league’s faculty athletic representatives. Anderson’s case was not approved for aid. Therefore, he will not attend KU and soon will be leaving town.
“I mean, it does make me feel good ... but it just makes me want to be here even more,” Anderson added.
Downtrodden over the fact he can’t afford to pay his own way to remain at KU as a walk-on, Anderson issued a poignant message on Facebook Saturday, telling his followers, “I just want to come home (to Okotoks),” those words followed by a backward smiley face.
Asked if that’s how he truly felt, Anderson, whose mom and six siblings reside in Canada, said: “I want to do that, but I can’t. I have to keep fighting to figure out how to get back (to KU someday).”
He said prep school was not an option since he attended a prep school (Wilbraham and Monson in Massachusetts) last year. Junior college could be in his future.
“That may be what I have to do, but that is kind of the last resort right now,” he said. “I have definitely thought about that. I wouldn’t mind staying in Kansas,” he added of perhaps playing ball at a juco in the Sunflower State, earning a degree and perhaps resurfacing at KU in a couple of seasons.
He also could enroll at a college in a conference that accepts partial qualifiers, such as Conference USA. Trouble is, it’s awful late to enroll and start attending classes at any school.
As Anderson ponders his options, he’ll likely re-read some of the posts on Twitter and Facebook, such as ...
• “Jayhawk nation loves you. We look forward to the day you can come back and wear the Crimson and the Blue.”
• “The NCAA screwed you. Just keep that head up and know the good Lord has got your back.”
• “Don’t give up on the dream. It is just an obstacle.”
• “Thinking about you Braeden and keeping you in my prayers.”
• “Big shout out to Braeden Anderson. The situation isn’t good now, but keep your head up, young sir. Things will work out.”
• “I really feel for Braeden Anderson, one of the nicest and humblest guys I have ever met.”
Noted Anderson: “I’m thankful. I’ve said about everything I want to say on Twitter,” he added of his simple post, “Speechless,” followed by “Appreciate the love and support from Jayhawk Nation.”
The Big 12 faculty reps, by the way, do not comment publicly on their rulings. Schools in the Big 12 can accept an unlimited number of partial qualifiers, but their cases must be approved by the reps.
Austin update: Waverly Austin, a 6-foot-11, 250-pound sophomore from Palm Beach State College in Florida, likely will make a recruiting trip to KU for the Oct. 14 Late Night in the Phog, Rivals.com reports. Austin is originally from Fredericksburg, Va. He has heard from KU, Washington, Oklahoma, Texas, South Florida, West Virginia, Arizona State, South Carolina and others.
“I’m looking for a program that has an up-tempo offense where I can come in and contribute immediately,” Austin told jucorecruiting.com.