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June 7, 2006
LOS ANGELES - USC guard Gabe Pruitt, who averaged 16.9 points and made the All-Pac-10 first team as a sophomore last season, will be academically ineligible for the fall semester.
The Trojans' other backcourt starter last season, freshman Ryan Francis, was shot and killed May 13 in his hometown of Baton Rouge, La., apparently the unintended victim of a dispute between two other men.
The 6-foot-4 Pruitt will try to regain his eligibility and rejoin the Trojans in mid-December, about one-third of the way through the schedule but before conference play begins.
''I'm very disappointed in Gabe,'' coach Tim Floyd said Wednesday in a statement. ''We have high expectations for our players in the classroom. This is a setback not only for Gabe, but for our entire team.''
Pruitt apologized to his coaches and teammates.
''I take full responsibility for slipping up and losing focus in the classroom. I now have to pick it up, work hard to get eligible and use this as a lesson to be learned,'' he said.
''I guarantee it won't happen again.''
A two-year starter, Pruitt averaged 4.0 rebounds, 3.1 assists and a team-high 2.2 steals last season. The previous season, he led the Trojans with a 12.3 scoring average and shot a school-record 45 percent from 3-point range.
The Trojans went 17-13 last season, Floyd's first as their coach.For more coverage of the USC Trojans, check out USCFootball.com.