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Penn State Basketball: Freshman Mike Watkins Not Cleared to Play This Season by NCAA

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The four-star recruit did not suit up in Saturday's opener and may have to sit for the entire season.

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

It's never easy with Penn State basketball. Speaking after today's 62-50 win over VMI, head coach Patrick Chambers confirmed what was rumored on message boards for a few days: that freshman Mike Watkins, a 6'8" 245lb freshman from Philadelphia, has not been cleared to play by the NCAA this season.

The specifics have not been announced as of yet, but it seems that Watkins, a product of The Phelps School and previously Math, Civics and Science HS in Philadelphia, has not met eligibility guidelines. VCU's Samir Doughty, who played with Watkins during their junior season at MCS, was ruled a partial qualifier before the start of the Rams' season on Friday. Doughty is redshirting for the 2015-16 season, meaning he can practice with the team. As StateCollege.com's Ben Jones reports, it is unclear as to whether Watkins has similar status:

Fortunately for Penn State, the frontcourt is deep enough that Watkins' absence will not force them to play shorthanded this season. The biggest concern for Pat Chambers is in getting him eligible to practice with the team as Watkins prepares to step into a possible starting role in 2016-17, as the Lions will lose three seniors capable of playing power forward or center this coming summer.