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In what would be a sad conclusion to a brilliant Harvard career on the basketball court but a turbulent one in the classroom, star senior guard Patrick Harvey will likely be forced to leave the team—and Harvard— due to academic reasons, his teammates said last night.
Harvey, who was placed on academic probation at the end of last year because of poor grades, received an unsatisfactory grade in at least one of his classes this past fall semester, players said. The fifth-year senior guard, who also had to sit out the entire 1999-2000 basketball season for academic reasons, is scheduled to appear tomorrow before the Administrative Board, players said. The board will determine whether he is allowed to remain at Harvard.
Senior point guard Elliott Prasse-Freeman said he did not know whether Harvey would attend practice today while his Ad Board case is still pending. But he said Harvey is not expected to play this weekend or at any point again this season.
Several players confirmed that following the Crimson’s 73-68 loss at Yale Saturday night, Harvard coach Frank Sullivan told the team it was Harvey’s final game.
“This is obviously bigger than basketball,” said captain Brady Merchant. “You hate to see one of your friends go. To make it through seven semesters and potentially not get to graduate—I can’t imagine what that would be like.”
While it is not certain yet whether Harvey will be forced to withdraw from school, Prasse-Freeman said that—based on conversations he had with Harvey—his prospects did not appear promising.
“It doesn’t look good,” Prasse-Freeman said. “The best-case scenario may be that he is allowed to return at a future time.”
This is not Harvey’s first academic infraction. He was forced to take the 1999-2000 academic year off from Harvard because of an unsatisfactory academic record during the previous spring semester. Harvey then spent what would have been his sophomore year working full-time for a law firm in his native Chicago.
“It was difficult being home,” Harvey told The Crimson earlier this year about his time away from Harvard. “I would call [my teammates] up, but it was tough because it was the first time being away from basketball my whole life.”
Since returning to Harvard, Harvey has emerged as one of the premier players in the Ivy League, finishing as the conference’s second-leading scorer last season and earning First Team All-Ivy honors. All the while, however, he was fluctuating on and off probationary academic status.
“He kind of toed the line between on and off probation every other semester,” Prasse-Freeman said.
As recently as last spring, Harvey was reportedly in good academic standing, but poor marks he received at the close of that term placed him back on probation this fall.
After finishing his final exams last month, players said, Harvey made it known to teammates that he was worried about his grades. When Sullivan made the announcement on Saturday that Harvey’s season was over, the news did not come as a shock.
“No one was really surprised,” Merchant said. “People kind of knew the situation, some more than others....A few of the guys would sort of check up on his classes, just wondering how he was doing. After finals a couple weeks ago, he wasn’t too confident.”
According to the Handbook for Students, the Administrative Board may require a withdrawal from the College for academic reasons “in the case of a student who has failed to have a satisfactory record for two consecutive terms.”
Prasse-Freeman said that he and other teammates recently lent advice and encouragement to Harvey as he wrote a letter stating his case to the board. But Prasse-Freeman added that their assistance may have been “futile.”
“It’s an unfortunate set of circumstances,” Prasse-Freeman said. “Harvard has certain rules that have to be followed and Pat knew that. Things just didn’t work out for him.”
Harvey could not be reached for comment.
The absence of Harvey will be a major setback for a Harvard team that has already been struggling in recent weeks. The Crimson has dropped four of its first six league games, seriously darkening its chances at competing for an Ivy title.
With Harvey gone, Harvard faces a daunting task trying to replace his scoring ability. Entering this weekend, he was averaging 16.4 points per game. He scored a team-high 21 points against Brown Friday and led the Crimson again with 16 at Yale in what proved to be his final game.
Harvey will finish his career 12th on Harvard’s all-time scoring list (1,208) and second in career three-pointers (181). He is also one of only six players in school history to amass 150 steals.
“We’re obviously going to miss him since he’s such a dynamic player,” Prasse-Freeman said of Harvey. “He does things on the court I’ve never seen anyone do.”
The likeliest candidate to replace Harvey in the starting lineup is sophomore Jason Norman. Norman earned the start in the one game Harvey has missed so far this season against Vermont on Dec. 17. Harvey sat out that game with an ankle problem.
“Based on Coach’s subbing patterns, Jason would definitely be a guy who’ll need to step up,” Merchant said. “Mike Beal and Kevin Rogus are guys who have seen playing time, too.”
Ready or not, Harvard will begin life without its star guard this Friday when it hosts Columbia at Lavietes Pavilion. But however difficult a challenge it is for the team to move on, the hardest adjustment may be the one that awaits Harvey.
—Staff writer Brian E. Fallon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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