Tennessee transfer center Uros Plavsic is still awaiting a final decision from the NCAA in regards to whether or not he’ll be able to play basketball this season. And head coach Rick Barnes doesn’t know when the NCAA will make their final ruling, but he hopes it’s soon.
The seven-foot center transferred from Arizona State over the summer after spending his true freshman season with the Sun Devils. On Nov. 2, Tennessee found out that Plavsic was denied immediate eligibility by the NCAA. Tennessee Athletics Director Phillip Fulmer said in a statement that UT had already filed an appeal for Plavsic, but that, too, was denied.
The following Monday, head coach Rick Barnes said at the Knoxville Quarterback Club that he and UT planned on pursuing another avenue for an appeal. Later that afternoon during a media availability before Tennessee’s 2019-20 season opener, Barnes reiterated that decision and shed some light on the details.
Barnes said during his meeting with the media that day that while he and the rest of the men’s basketball program are disappointed in the NCAA’s denial, they aren’t giving up just yet.
“Well, I think we’re all disappointed. Uros is a wonderful kid. He’s been really patient with it,” Barnes said. “There is another avenue that we’re exploring. You have some appeals that you can do, so we do have an appeal left. I’ve got full confidence that (UT Athletics Director) Coach Fulmer and our compliance people are going to do everything they can. I know he’s (Fulmer) already made his statement about it.
“We’re all disappointed and somewhat surprised, to be quite frank. So we’ll see where it goes. Hopefully it can get rectified quickly.”
Two months later, Barnes and Plavsic are still waiting to hear back from the NCAA regarding a final decision. On Thursday afternoon, Barnes expressed hope that a final ruling was around the corner after being asked if the chances of Plavsic playing this season are dead.
“I don’t know,” Barnes said. “We hope in a week maybe, or week-and-a-half. If it gets beyond that, it probably won’t be worth playing him in terms of him losing a year. That would be left up to him, but we don’t know anything.”
Plavsic used his one year in Arizona to redshirt and put on some much-needed weight.
Coming out of high school, Plavsic was a four-star prospect according to 247Sports. He was considered the No. 120 overall player by 247 and the No. 16 center in the 2018 class. He averaged 9.6 points and 7.5 rebounds for Hamilton Heights in Chattanooga and came on strong in the last 12 games of the season, helping his team go undefeated in that stretch and go 28-7 overall. In those 12 games, Plavsic averaged 13.5 points and 9.4 rebounds after being inserted into a starting role.
While Tennessee awaits a final decision as to if its big man will have to miss the entire season, it turns its attention to a home match-up with South Carolina following Tuesday night’s win over Missouri. Tip-off with the Gamecocks on Saturday is scheduled for 1 p.m.