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Technicalities mean 7-foot-4 hoops star misses on scholarship

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

Sim Bhullar is very, very tall. In fact, according to TheTallestMan.com, the 7-foot-4 (he's actually between 7-foot-4 and 7-foot-5) Bhullar is the 57th tallest man on the planet. He has a massive 7-foot-11 wingspan which is among the longest ever recorded on Earth. Add to that the fact that the Canadian teenager of Indian descent is also a talented basketball player, and you have a combination of factors which all but ensured he would have a free collegiate future.

So, why is Bhullar preparing to pay a whopping $25,000 to attend New Mexico State for the 2011-12 school year … without playing organized basketball? Because of convoluted NCAA eligibility guidelines for Canadians playing collegiate basketball in America, that's why.

According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Bhullar -- who had committed to play for Xavier beginning in the 2012 season -- instead pulled out of his Musketeers commitment and will now enroll at New Mexico State. Since the 18-year-old is ineligible to compete for the Aggies until he completes a full season as an international student.

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New Mexico State basketball recruit Sim Bhullar

New Mexico State basketball recruit Sim Bhullar

In fact, that eligibility requirement is Bhullar's entire motivation for aborting his plans to attend Xavier in favor of New Mexico State.

As expensive as New Mexico State's out-of-state tuition may be, it's still some $17,000 cheaper than what the center prospect would have had to pay to attend Xavier, a private Catholic school in Cincinnati.

"The whole time I was going to go to Xavier, I was really looking forward to it," Bhullar told the Enquirer. "The last few days I found out that I didn't qualify and I would have to play regular tuition price this year.

"My family wasn't ready to pay that much. We were looking for other options that would be cheaper."

While Bhullar could have chosen other state schools after coming to the conclusion that he had to leave Xavier, the Aggies' recent Canadian pipeline made his decision much simpler. Five members of 2011-12 New Mexico State roster all hail from Canada, as does the program's head coach, Toronto native Paul Weir.

All of that made the decision to attend New Mexico State easier to stomach, even if Bhullar's heart was still set on Xavier.

"I really wanted to go to Xavier," Bhullar told the Enquirer. "That was the school I chose. I really loved the coaches and players. It's a shame I can't go there."

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