Rakym Felder can return to USC as a student, but not as a student-athlete just yet.
USC head basketball coach Frank Martin announced Friday that he expects Felder to return to campus at some point in January. But he will not be a part of the basketball program until certain criteria are met.
"There are certain things I am asking Rakym to do before I allow him to be a part of our day-to-day basketball team again," Martin said.
What those things are will be kept private but a central issue is regaining the trust of his teammates and coaches.
Felder was arrested in July on charges of third degree assault following an incident in Five Points - his second arrest in a calendar year. While those charges were dropped, Felder did not return to school for the fall semester.
"He made a bad mistake, a mistake that hurts me deeply," Martin said.
"But at the same time, I've got an 18-year-old son. I want whoever my son ends up trusting during his college career, I would want that coach to discipline him, to deal with him, but at the same time, not throw him out there to the wolves. Rakym has dealt with pain for his mistakes in a serious manner. He has impacted a lot of people in ways that have hurt people., He understands that. I understand that. His teammates understand that because our team has been impacted by his decisions."
USC opens SEC play Sunday, New Year's Eve at Ole Miss. Having Felder return to the program would be a boost as Felder is an experienced point guard who came on strong during the Gamecocks' run to the Final Four in the spring.
"I, me, no one else, made the decision he will not (play)," Martin said.
"He is eligible to play if I chose to play him. I made the decision that he will not play this year. He understands. He is an unbelievable young man. I'm excited to see if I can help him become a better person before we worry about him playing basketball."
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