The Virginia Tech men’s basketball team opened practice Monday with one less option than expected in its quest to replace former point guard Erick Green, the nation’s leading scorer last season, his senior year.
Coach James Johnson announced that freshman Malik Mueller, a 19-year-old from Ehingen, Germany, will have to sit out the 2013-14 college basketball season after being ruled academically ineligible by the NCAA.
The 6-foot-3 Mueller was expected to compete for playing time at point guard this season for the Hokies, who are coming off a last-place finish in the ACC. He will be allowed to practice with the team this season and will have four years of eligibility remaining when he’s allowed to play in games in fall 2014.
Junior Marquis Rankin, freshman Devin Wilson and UNC Wilmington transfer Adam Smith will likely all be in the mix to fill the team’s point-guard void going forward.
“I am extremely disappointed for Malik, “ Johnson said in a school-issued statement. “This young man has worked very hard this summer both in workouts and in the classroom. I know that Malik will use this year to improve as a better basketball player and will continue his strong work in his academics. He will help this team in practice and from the sidelines.”
Mueller is the second player from Johnson’s first full recruiting class to deal with eligibility issues. The program’s top 2013 recruit, guard Donte Clark, was not admitted to Virginia Tech this past summer for academic reasons.
Clark later signed with Massachusetts, although he has been ruled a non-qualifier by the NCAA clearinghouse and will also have to redshirt this season.