Senior forward Ari “Ace” Stewart has been ruled academically ineligible for the upcoming 2013-14 season but will remain at the university to take classes, a source close to the team confirmed to the Daily Trojan. Stewart’s dismissal was originally reported by Galen Central earlier this week.
Stewart transferred to USC in 2011 after playing two seasons at Wake Forest, where he averaged 8.5 points and 4.4 rebounds per game during his sophomore campaign.
He redshirted the 2011-12 season with the Trojans, a season in which the team finished with a historically poor 6-26 record. Last year, he averaged 3.4 points and 1.8 rebounds in a little more than 10 minutes per contest under head coach Kevin O’Neill and later interim coach Bob Cantu. His shooting percentage suffered a major decline, falling from 39 percent with the Demon Deacons to 31 percent with the Trojans.
Stewart was set to be one of six seniors on the 2013-14 roster, including guard J.T. Terrell andcenter Omar Oraby, among others. Junior guard Byron Wesley, sophomore forward Strahinja Gavrilovic and freshman forward Roschon Prince could be in line for more playing time under new head coach Andy Enfield with Stewart unable to play.
In addition to six incoming freshmen, the Trojans will look to offset the loss of Stewart with four new transfers, though only two — senior point guard Pe’Shon Howard (University of Maryland) and senior center D.J. Haley (Virginia Commonwealth University) –— have been approved to suit up for USC this year. The other two, sophomore forward Darion Clark (UNC-Charlotte) and sophomore guard Katin Reinhardt (UNLV), must sit out the season to gain eligibility next year.
Stewart isn’t the first member of the team to succumb to academic issues. Prior to the start of the 2012-13 season, then-junior guard Maurice Jones was also ruled academically ineligible and later transferred to Iowa State.
The Trojans open the 2013-14 season away from home on Nov. 8 against the Utah State Aggies.
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