WKU guard Bearden ineligible to start 2018-19 season

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Western Kentucky coach Rick Stansbury confirmed Friday that senior guard Lamonte Bearden will be ineligible during WKU’s first semester of the academic year which amounts to the first nine games of the Hilltoppers’ season.

Bearden is eligible to return Dec. 16 when Western Kentucky hosts Troy.

"Basically that comes from some late-spring decisions," Stansbury said. "Maybe entering the draft and not finishing up some academics. When you make decisions sometimes there's accountability and responsibilities that come with both of 'em. That's where he is.

"As long as he takes care of business this fall he'll be fine at the end of this school semester and hopefully should graduate. Hopefully he can do the right thing and get his degree."

Bearden is a 6-foot-3, 170-pound point guard who started 34 of 38 games last season, his first eligible with WKU. He averaged 11.8 points, 3.4 assists, 2.3 rebounds and 1.7 steals and scored a season-high 24 points Nov. 10 against Missouri State and again March 1 at Middle Tennessee.

In April, Bearden planned on leaving Western to begin his career in professional career. But the end of May he had decided to return to Bowling Green for his senior season.

"We talk to all of our kids everyday about there's a correlation – take shortcuts off the court, you'll take 'em on the court," Stansbury said. "It's about consistent everyday with everything you do from being on time to eating breakfast, if you're supposed to get four hours of study table don't get three hours an 50 minutes, you get four hours.

"You can't turn it on and turn it off and be as good as you can be. I'm convinced of that through the years. We preach that everyday: Consistency in your personal life. And when you don't do what you're supposed to do when you're supposed to do it, there's accountability. There's accountability in life, there's accountability between those lines. It'll catch up with you if you don't do the right things over and over."

Bearden, from Milwaukee, Wisc., started his career at Buffalo where he played in 63 games and scored 13.7 points per game as a sophomore and 8.3 ppg as a freshman.

— Follow WBKO sportswriter Chad Bishop on Twitter @MrChadBishop