The Washington Times - January 27, 2009, 11:51PM

Here’s what we know about Jin Soo Kim.

He’s academically ineligible. He’s appealing that ruling. And no one really wants to talk about it.

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You can read the tealeaves enough to figure out the language barrier is a major issue. That shouldn’t be much of a surprise for a guy who spent much of his life in his native Korea; heavens knows it wouldn’t be easy for most Americans to suddenly have to meet the academic standards of a school in, say, Russia.

That said, Maryland coach Gary Williams isn’t talking much about the status of Kim, who was finally cleared to join the team in early November after a lengthy clearinghouse process.

“I really don’t want to get into it that much,” Williams said. “As you know, he’s in a program for kids [for] who English is a second language. He’s working hard. I thought he did a pretty good job in the course, but obviously not well enough. He’s here, and he’s practicing, and he just can’t play in the games. So wherever he was playing – four, five minutes a game – we don’t have him for those four or five minutes.”

Williams didn’t talk about Kim winning his appeal, which is significant mainly because he probably would have mentioned it if he thought the chances of a successful appeal were good.

So for now – and probably for the rest of the season – Maryland is down to a dozen players.

Patrick Stevens