Passley to rejoin Vols

One week ago, the availability of three key University of Tennessee basketball players for the 2006-07 season was in question. Thanks to the lifting of a suspension, that number has been reduced to two.

Head coach Bruce Pearl told The Tennessean during Wednesday's SEC meetings in Destin, Fla., that he is reinstating Anthony Passley, who was suspended from the team last March after being charged with both felony and misdemeanor drug charges. The felony charge recently was dismissed, leaving only a marijuana possession charge on Passley's record. Pearl reinstated Jemere Hendrix following his suspension on a similar charge last fall, so the reinstatement of Passley is consistent with precedent.

Passley, a 6-foot-5 wing man from Indianapolis, transferred to UT from Wisconsin-Milwaukee and sat out the 2005-06 season. He is projected to be a significant contributor in 2006-07. Cordell Passley, Anthony's brother and a heralded high school junior, already has committed to be part of Tennessee's 2008 signing class.

While Anthony Passley is back in the fold, two Vols remain in limbo. Major Wingate, the 6-foot-10 senior center who was suspended from the team following a positive drug test several weeks ago, is still working his way back into Pearl's good graces.

Finally, spring signee Ramar Smith is looking to achieve the necessary standardized test score to enroll at UT. Toward that end he will take the SAT and ACT this summer. Smith is a celebrated 6-foot-2 guard from Detroit who is considered a possible first-year starter at point guard for the 2006-07 Vols.

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