Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Hardge Hopes for Return to Mizzou

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Hardge Hopes for Return to Mizzou

Article excerpt

For the first semester of this Missouri basketball season he had close to the best view of how the Tigers were coping with his absence.

He saw 6-foot-10 teammate Derek Grimm, an outside-in player, playing inside-out. He watched 6-8 Kelly Thames tussle with players some three inches taller and several more inches wider than Thames himself.

And, he wondered what might have been had he - all 6-11, 300 pounds of him - been academically eligible to play for Mizzou. "I've never had to pay consequences like this before," said former, and maybe future, MU center Monte Hardge. "There's never been serious consequences before when I had problems with academics." In three school years at Mizzou, Hardge has spent three semesters academically ineligible and another basketball season, his freshman year, as a medical redshirt. Hardge has played in 32 games and averaged 6.5 minutes and 2.4 points a game but is out of school after failing to have a 2.0 grade-point average and failing to pass a minimum amount of credit hours. Hardge said his latest academic problem - he failed a biology class because of excessive absences, he said - resulted from a priority far more important than basketball and academics: his infant son. The rash of absences in the fall were because of medical appointments he had to attend with his son's mother, whom he did not identify. Hardge believed he and the professor had an understanding, but when grades were released and he received an "F," Hardge was shocked. His appeal failed. "I just haven't been a real good student," admitted Hardge, who had no serious academic problems in high school. …

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