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NCAA denies extra season for Aggie guard AJ Harris

Auburn guard Malik Dunbar, left, defends New Mexico State guard AJ Harris (12) in the first half of a 2019 NCAA Tournament game in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Jeff Swinger)

The NCAA on Thursday informed New Mexico State University that the waiver request for senior guard AJ Harris to play one more season has been denied.

The 5-foot-11 guard who started his college career at Ohio State before transferring to NMSU, played in just three games this past season for the Aggies due to a pair of injuries. He had sought a sixth year of eligibility due to the injuries.

“Last season definitely wasn’t what I wanted it to be, but nothing can take away from the memories I’ve made in Las Cruces as part of one of the best teams in the nation,” Harris wrote in a social media post on Thursday. “New Mexico State is a special place because of our basketball program and the fans that love us.”

Harris had already used one redshirt season due to the transfer and NCAA sixth year hardship waivers usually only are granted when two seasons are lost due to matters beyond a player’s control, which do not include transfer sit out seasons.

“We are disappointed in the denial of AJ Harris’s waiver by the NCAA,” NMSU coach Chris Jans said in a university statement. “Unfortunately, with this decision, we have now exhausted any and all possibilities for AJ to play another year of college basketball.”

Harris missed the first 13 games in the 2019-20 season with a hand injury before returning for three games, when a foot injury suffered Jan. 4 cost him the rest of the season.

Harris was a part of three WAC regular season titles at NMSU, where he played 69 games, starting 66 times, and averaged 9.3 points and 3.2 assists per game.

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