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South Carolina guard Rakym Felder back on campus, but not with team

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After months of speculation, coach Frank Martin finally made the call on Felder’s availability for this season.

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina men’s basketball coach Frank Martin announced on Friday that sophomore guard Rakym Felder, who was suspended indefinitely from the team earlier this year, will return to campus — but not to the court.

Felder, who was a key role player in South Carolina’s Final Four run last season, was suspended in August after his role in a “large brawl” resulted in his arrest. The charges were later dropped, but it was his second strike after a 2016 arrest for assaulting a police officer after being tased.

Felder was not on campus during USC’s fall semester, but speculation swirled that he would be cleared and enrolled in time for conference play. Martin had a different view, however.

“I have made the decision that Rakym will not play this year. There’s certain things that I’m asking Rakym to do before I allow him to be a part of our basketball team again. Those are things that I’m going to keep private for now.”

Felder, for his part, seems thrilled with the news, as the door is open for his eventual return:

While this is ultimately a good development for the program, it’s unfortunate that it can’t help the Gamecocks this season. South Carolina’s backcourt is struggling to find production between the absence of Felder, the NBA departures of P.J. Dozier and Sindarius Thornwell, and nagging injuries to Kory Holden. One certainly can’t accuse Frank Martin of not being a man of principle.