Facey cleared by NCAA, will play in 2013

The eligibility review of UConn freshman Kentan Facey came to a close Friday morning. The NCAA has granted the 6-foot-9 freshman a waiver, allowing him four years of eligibility beginning immediately.

Facey broke the news himself, tweeting “UConn compliance staff is dead serious!!!! Thank you lord!!!! @NCAA thank y’all too.”

“I am so pleased and excited that everything has worked out for this outstanding young man,” UConn coach Kevin Ollie said Friday. “It’s great to see him go through this situation and persevere. He just kept working very hard and believed in our university.”

Originally from Jamaica, Facey’s eligibility was under review due to a standardized test he passed before coming to the U.S., a source said.  The lengthy review  sought to determine whether Facey was in violation of the NCAA’s “delayed enrollment” rule, designed to prevent prospective athletes from delaying enrollment for the purposes of improving athletically or to be discovered for recruitment.

A lanky shotblocker who runs the floor, Facey first attended Upper Room Christian (Dix Hills, N.Y.) for the 2010-11 season. He was 17-years-old and a junior in the classroom, according an Upper Room administrator.

Facey then left the school and transferred to Long Island Lutheran, where he once again was a junior. Grade placement at Long Island Lutheran is “non-subjective,” per admissions director Barbara Ward.

“It’s really very, very simple,” Ward said. “We know how many credits a student needs to graduate our school and we can just work backwards from there. If we’re admitting them into 10th grade, we know they have to have the credits to have graduated past freshman year. If we’re admitting them into 11th grade, they would have needed to have completed half the credits.”

Facey completed 11th and 12th grade at Long Island Lutheran, verbally committing to UConn just before his senior year. The review of his eligibility was made public in August and finally resolved Friday.

“I want to thank our university compliance department, which went above and beyond to help us with Kentan’s situation and the NCAA, which took the time to evaluate all the extenuating circumstances before making a final decision,” Ollie said. “Obviously, we feel it was the fair solution.”

Facey, 20-years-old, is huge immediate addition for UConn, which struggled mightily on the backboards last season. He’ll compete with sophomore Phil Nolan, freshman Amida Brimah and senior Tyler Olander for minutes at the center position. Junior DeAndre Daniels, who blossomed down the stretch last season, figures to dominate minutes at power forward.

The 2012-13 New York Gatorade Player of the Year, Facey averaged 14.8 points, 13.0 rebounds, and 4.5 blocks per game for Long Island Lutheran.