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UNC suspends highly recruited freshman guard

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The University of North Carolina suspended freshman guard Jalek Felton from the Tar Heels basketball team Tuesday.

The university did not disclose why the prized freshman recruit was suspended or how long the suspension will last.

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“Due to federal privacy laws, that is the extent to which the University can comment,” UNC said in a statement.

It’s important to note that he was suspended by the university, not the team, so he is not eligible to participate in any university activities while under suspension. That, of course, includes basketball games and practices.

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Felton, from West Columbia, South Carolina, has played in all 22 games this season for the Tar Heels as a backup to point guard Joel Berry II. He is averaging 2.9 points and 1.6 assists per game this season.

Felton is the nephew of former Tar Heel great Raymond Felton, who currently plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The 6-foot-2 Jalek Felton came in highly touted, ranked as the No. 1 combo guard in the 2017 recruiting class, according to 247 Sports.  Overall, he was the 30th ranked recruit in the Class of 2017.

“He is really gifted, maybe the most gifted player on our team,” UNC coach Roy Williams said of Felton before the season started.

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“He is really gifted. If I can get him to be more focused and tougher, I think he has a chance to be a really good player and really help us. He’s got some skills that a lot of other people don’t have,” Williams added, speaking at Media Day.

Felton is averaging just 9.7 minutes per game. In January, Williams discussed why Felton hasn’t gotten more minutes.

“If you can stay in front of the ball defensively and not turn the ball over, you get more of a chance,” the coach said via Inside Carolina. “That’s all it is, because he can do some things, but you’ve got to be able to do that.”

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The defending NCAA champs are 16-6 this season, 5-4 in the ACC.

Williams said this week that this is one of the worst, if not the worst, defensive team he has ever coached.

The Tar Heels are still ranked in the top 20 at No. 19, but they’re coming off back-to-back league losses to Virginia Tech and N.C. State.

UNC will look to end the skid Tuesday night at 20th-ranked Clemson — without Felton.

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Dave is a lifelong sports fan who has been writing for The Wildcard since 2017. He has been a writer for more than 20 years for a variety of publications.
Dave has been writing about sports for The Wildcard since 2017. He's been a reporter and editor for over 20 years, covering everything from sports to financial news. In addition to writing for The Wildcard, Dave has covered mutual funds for Pensions and Investments, meetings and conventions, money market funds, personal finance, associations, and he currently covers financial regulations and the energy sector for Macallan Communications. He has won awards for both news and sports reporting.
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