Western Kentucky University men's basketball's had a roller coaster start to its season - trying to integrate a new coach (Ken McDonald) and five new players, learning one of its newcomers (Dejan Cvoro) won't be eligible for about a month, trying to overcome a variety of injuries (Japeth Aguilar's foot, Orlando Mendez-Valdez's knee) and nearly losing an exhibition game (to Division II Bellarmine).
Saturday morning, news came to make the opening of the regular season even more unstable.
Junior guard A.J. Slaughter - the team's leading returning scorer from a 2008 run to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament - was ruled ineligible because he played in a summer league that wasn't sanctioned by the NCAA.
WKU athletics spokesperson Brad Fields said via telephone Saturday morning Slaughter would miss the Hilltoppers' first two games - making him eligible to return for a Nov. 22 trip to Murray State.
Slaughter averaged 7.6 points per game as a sophomore, making 44 percent of his three-point attempts. He averaged 16 points in WKU's two exhibition wins this season.
WKU lost its first game without Slaughter, a 73-64 decision at Houston that doubled as the team's season opener.