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August 16, 2012Northwestern incoming freshman center Chier Ajou has been cleared to play this season by the NCAA.
The 7-foot-2 big man from South Sudan and Oakdale (Conn.) St. Thomas More was signed by Northwestern in June, but there was a question about whether he would be able to compete for the Wildcats in the 2012-13 season.
The school released a statement on Thursday stating that Ajou had received clearance from the NCAA and will be eligible to play in the upcoming campaign.
Ajou originally went to Culver (Ind.) Academies and committed to New Mexico in the fall of 2010. However, he did not graduate from Culver last year, preventing his enrollment at New Mexico.
He then reopened his recruitment and enrolled at St. Thomas More for his final year of high school.
Ajou and his family moved to the United States in 2008, but not before two of his brothers and his father were killed in the Christian-Muslim conflict in his native country.
Ajou, who is the tallest player in school history, chose Northwestern over Butler. He is a three-star prospect who averaged 10.1 points and 6.3 rebounds per game last season at Culver.
Ajou joins a Northwestern front court that will feature three other new players this season: 6-foot-8 Louisville transfer Jared Swopshire, 6-foot-9 TCU transfer Nikola Cerina and 7-foot 2012 signee Alex Olah.