Florida International's tumultuous rebuilding process under second-year coach Isiah Thomas has hit another snag.
Dominique Ferguson, a consensus top-100 prospect and the centerpiece of Thomas' first recruiting class at FIU, will sit out the fall semester due to academics, multiple sources told FOXSports.com's Jeff Goodman. The 6-foot-9 Indianapolis native still has a chance to play for the Panthers next season beginning in mid-December.
The signing of Ferguson was a tremendous coup for an FIU program that finished 7-25 in Thomas' first season and is in dire need of a talent overhaul. Ferguson originally committed to Kentucky before Billy Gillispie got fired, and had also drawn interest from the likes of Florida, Indiana and Arizona.
Questions about Ferguson's attitude and academics caused many of those marquee programs to take a wait-and-see approach to his recruitment, so perhaps it's no huge surprise that he'll have to sit out a semester at FIU. Ferguson transferred from Lawrence North High in Indianapolis to Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia for his senior year of high school in order to address some of those issues.
"The first month or so I tried every excuse I could think of to come home," Ferguson told the Indianapolis Star last year. "The first night after my parents dropped me off I had to get up and go outside at 6 a.m. That was a big wakeup call."
Although Ferguson is easily the highest-profile recruit Thomas has landed thus far, the Panthers do have a handful of other promising incoming freshmen who will try to keep the season afloat for the first six weeks. The other newcomers include point guard Phillip Taylor (Wheeler, Ga.), shooting guard Richaud Pack (Seaholm, Mich.) and junior college shooting guards DeJuan Wright (Detroit) and Eric Fredrick (Oklahoma City).