Winston's status may be resolved soon

There is no official word yet, but Alabama basketball coaches and compliance officials have reason to believe that true freshman Kennedy Winston could be cleared to play this week by the NCAA.

According to Assistant Coach Orlando Early, speaking to a basketball booster group Saturday afternoon, the NCAA committee considering Winston's status will meet next Monday. Apparently the NCAA's lengthy investigation has finally concluded, and it's reasonable to expect a ruling by Tuesday.

"We're hoping to learn something Monday or Tuesday," said Head Basketball Coach Mark Gottfried following Saturday's game.

The top prospect in Alabama last season, Winston initially signed with California before obtaining his release from that scholarship and transferring to The Capstone. Mobile native Winston was the 2002 "Mr. Basketball" in the state of Alabama and was named Player of the Year by the Birmingham News.

Kennedy Winston has not participated in any games so far this season, sitting out while the NCAA investigated allegations that he received improper benefits associated with his high school AAU career.

None of the allegations involved Alabama or Winston's recruitment by the Tide.

A small forward known for his scoring ability, Alabama has been forced to play without Winston for the first 11 games of the season.

"I'm hoping he'll play Wednesday," Gottfried said. "That's not anything official. That's just Mark Gottfried."

Wednesday the Tide begins conference play, taking on Arkansas in a game to be played at Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa.

Even without Winston, the Tide's record stands at 10-1 and Alabama achieved the first No. 1 ranking in the history of the program.

Winston scored more than 2,000 points in his high school career. During his senior season at Blount High School, the prep all star averaged 33.2 points, 11.6 rebounds, 7.5 assists, 2.7 blocks and 2.4 steals per game.

Blount advanced to the 2001 and 2002 state Class 5A Final Four, winning the title in 2001 and making it to the championship game last year.

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