BY BOB HUNT
Daily Sports Editor
Published June 9, 2002
If only Amadou Ba could take the Scholastic Aptitude Test in French.
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The 6-foot-10 basketball recruit from Mauritania in Africa has yet to receive the minimum score on either the SAT or American College Testing Assessment in order to be eligible to play for the Wolverines next season. Ba scored a 760 on the May 1 SAT, which is 60 points short of the necessary score of 820.
Ba speaks five different languages, but because he has just been in the United States for just two years, he has trouble with written English.
"He's a bright kid," said Whit Lesure, Ba's coach this past season at Bridgton Academy in Maine. "But unfortunately, with that language barrier, he has taken that test a couple times (and has struggled)."
Ba went to school as an exchange student in Alabama before attending Bridgton this past school year. He has taken the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), which many international students use to get into college, and has scored well, but the NCAA does not accept the TOEFL in determining eligibility.
"It's a travesty what they do with international guys," Lesure said.
Ba took the SAT on June 1 and the ACT on June 8 and is hopeful that one of his scores will make him eligible.
"It's very easy for these guys to pick up the spoken word," Lesure said. "(Ba) can talk better than I can. But all of a sudden when that stuff is down on paper and you're reading paragraphs of it, then it becomes much more confusing."
Last summer Kelly Whitney and JaQuan Hart, two of Michigan's four recruits last season, were declared academically ineligible and did not attend Michigan. But English was their native language.
Ba will find out the results of the tests -and his fate as a member of the Wolverines - in the next couple weeks.
"I think it will be close," Lesure said. "But we'll see."
Nothing like Paradise: While the Michigan basketball schedule will not be announced until late July or early August, the Wolverines already have some dates penciled in their schedule. Michigan has already accepted an invitation to play at the Paradise Jam tournament in the Virgin Islands during Thanksgiving Break from Nov. 22-24. The eight-team field will include Toledo, Kansas State, Virginia Tech, Washington State, Brigham Young, St. Bonaventure and Hampton.
Of the field, just St. Bonaventure and Brigham Young finished in the top 100 of the RPI last season. Michigan finished No. 142.
The Wolverines will also be playing Vanderbilt at Crisler Arena and Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, NC.
Bailey to play in Africa: Sophomore forward Chuck Bailey will participate in an eight-day Athletes in Action tour in the west African country of Ivory Coast from July 14-24. Bailey, along with seven other Division I players, will play games against local teams, hold youth basketball clinics and serve at orphanages.