Texas PG Myck Kabongo ready to make season debut this week

Myck Kabongo has missed the entire season after the NCAA suspended him for 23 games. (US Presswire)

Texas has struggled throughout most of the 2012-13 season, but the Longhorns will receive a boost on Wednesday against Iowa State.

Starting point guardMyck Kabongo is ready to make his season debut after sitting out a 23-game suspension levied by the NCAA.

Kabongo was suspended in December, after the NCAA determined he accepted impermissible benefits and provided false statements during meetings with university officials. According to the NCAA, Kabongo accepted airfare and personal training instruction when he went to Ohio to work out with Cleveland Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson, a long-time friend from Canada. Yahoo Sports and CBSSports.com reported Kabongo and Thompson were working out with Jerry Powell, a trainer who is close with agent Rich Paul.

Kabongo lied to university officials on two separate interviews, which led to further trouble. The NCAA originally suspended him for the entire year, but the Division I Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement modified the suspension to 23 games after hearing an appeal.

Kabongo released a statement through the school on Monday afternoon:

“I am ready to start playing with my team again and putting behind me the last several months.  When I went to Cleveland last summer, I did not intend to break any rules and did not believe I had broken any.  I should have been upfront with UT about everything the first time I had a chance, but I’m glad that I corrected my mistake and I’m glad that I was truthful with the NCAA.  

“I have learned a lot about myself and what is important to me through this process.  I have a great team, and they have supported me all year.  I believe I am a better teammate and am looking forward to finishing the season with my team.  I want to thank my teammates and my coaches for sticking by and supporting me all year.”

Kabongo, a 6-foot-1 sophomore, averaged 9.6 points, 3.0 rebounds and 5.2 assists last season. Without him, Texas is just 10-13 overall, losing eight of its 10 Big 12 games. Freshman Javan Felix has been adequate as Kabongo’s replacement, playing nearly 35 minutes per game and dishing out 5.5 assists. However, Felix went to Austin with the expectation of learning under Kabongo for a year or two before taking over the starting spot.

Texas will undoubtedly be better with Kabongo in the lineup, but it’s going to be too little, too late when it comes to saving the season.  

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