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Curtis Kelly will play for Kansas State basketball

MANHATTAN — Curtis Kelly remains a member of the Kansas State basketball team and is expected to play for the remainder of the season.

The senior forward, who is averaging 9.9 points and 4.9 rebounds a game, was the subject of an investigation by the university for a violation of a condition in the student-athlete handbook, according to a source within the athletic department.

The violation could have earned him a dismissal from the team, but a source told The Eagle that Kelly attended a hearing in the student union with members of the General Scholarship and Financial Aid Committee on Thursday afternoon on the matter, and that the ruling of that hearing turned out in Kelly’s favor.

Kelly then took part in practice and began preparing for the Wildcats’ next game at Colorado.

"He's on my team," K-State coach Frank Martin said at a news conference. "He's playing Saturday."

Kelly did not speak with the media Thursday, but Martin was asked several questions about the investigation and the manner in which Kelly handled himself during uncertain times.

His most common response: "Ask your source."

Martin said his team has been practicing as usual, and that he has been pleased with his players' work ethic since last playing at Iowa State on Saturday.

"Our enthusiasm, our energy has been real good," Martin said. "That includes Curtis."

His presence will certainly aid K-State in its quest to qualify for the NCAA Tournament. After starting the season at No. 3 in the national polls, the Wildcats have lost eight games and are off to a 4-5 start in Big 12 play.

Off-court drama has dogged the Wildcats this season; Kelly's cliffhanger was merely the latest episode.

Kelly missed the first three games of the season for unspecified reasons that Martin said were related to poor practice habits, but a source indicated he sat out those games in connection with a previous violation of the student-handbook.

He later missed six games for receiving impermissible discounts on clothing from a local Dillard's. Senior guard Jacob Pullen was also involved in the incident, and served a three-game suspension.

After those distractions, junior forward Freddy Asprilla left the team in mid-January and sophomore forward Wally Judge decided to quit last week.

While all that has been difficult to deal with, players say they remain confident.

"We've gotten a lot stronger as a team," Jamar Samuels said. "We try not to let the media or people outside our locker room come in and disrupt what we're doing. We're just taking it stride by stride and trying to become a better team."

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