Passley leaves

He saw limited action as a reserve in pre-conference games for the University of Tennessee basketball team, then disappeared in a figurative sense. Now he is disappearing in the literal sense, as well.

Tony Passley, who did not play in the Volunteers' final 13 games, has been dismissed from the team for the ever-popular "violation of team rules." Head coach Bruce Pearl suggested earlier that Passley's lack of action was related to academic concerns.

A sophomore from Indianapolis, Passley transferred to UT after a one-year stint at Redlands Community College. He sat out the 2005-06 season, then averaged 1.8 points and 1.7 rebounds per game for the 2006-07 Vols. Plagued by turnovers, he last played on Jan. 31 against Georgia.

The 6-5, 218-pounder produced 6 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists in Tennessee's season opener against Middle Tennessee. He committed three turnovers in that 14-minute relief stint, however, providing an omen of things to come.

Passley had zero points, 1 rebound and 4 turnovers in a disastrous 10-minute stint against Fordham in Game 2. Oddly enough, his best performance with the Vols probably came against North Carolina in Game 6. He contributed 5 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocked shots and just 1 turnover in 14 minutes against the second-ranked Tar Heels.

Passley's departure leaves Tennessee with 11 scholarship players and signees. The NCAA limit is 13, meaning the Vols have two grants available should they chose to offer them.

Passley is the fifth player to prematurely leave the UT program in the past two years. Pearl dismissed two post players – Jemere Hendrix in Year 1 and Major Wingate in Year 2 – for rules violations. Another post player, Damion Harris, departed before the 2006-07 season began. Combo guard Marques Johnson elected to transfer when he dropped out of the playing rotation four games into the '06-07 season.

Cordell Passley, Tony's younger brother, committed in May of 2005 to join the Vols in 2008. How his sibling's dismissal will affect that commitment remains to be seen.

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