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Virginia Tech transfer eligible immediately for JMU

James Madison men’s basketball head coach Matt Brady announced Tuesday that incoming forward Gene Swindle, a transfer from Virginia Tech, has been cleared by the NCAA to compete immediately for the Dukes during the 2011-12 season.

“We’re absolutely delighted that Gene was granted immediate eligibility by the NCAA and we’re eager to welcome him to our team and our program,” declared Brady after the ruling.

Typically NCAA rules require transfers from one Division I institution to another to sit out a season.  However, Swindle, who stands at 6’11″ and 260 pounds, was limited to less than one minute of action in three years with the Hokies.  After redshirting as a freshman in 2008-09, he suffered an injury to his knee thought to be career ending during a Nov. 17 game against UNC Greensboro.  He had one rebound and a missed field goal, his only official career statistics.  Swindle then spent the 2010-11 season as an undergraduate assistant coach at VT before deciding to transfer to JMU and give basketball one more shot.  He will be a redshirt junior for the Dukes for the 2011-12 campaign.

“I’m just thrilled to be honest after sitting out last year with an injury,” commented Swindle.  “Just the fact that I’ve been cleared by the doctors and cleared by the NCAA means the world to me after everything I’ve been through.  JMU is a good fit for me.  I like the team and the coach and feel like I fit in pretty well with the program.”

Brady added, “He’s a terrific addition to a team that is coming together nicely for JMU in 2011-12.  Gene brings terrific character, work ethic and an enthusiastic love of the game to JMU and our basketball program.  It was unfortunate that things didn’t work out for him health-wise at Tech.  I know they liked him as a player and a person, but JMU became an excellent opportunity for him and for us.”

Swindle originally hails from Miami, Fla. and played scholastically for three years at Gulliver Prep following his freshman year at Westminster Christian School.  He was a three-time team captain while leading the Raiders to three straight district titles.  Swindle averaged 15.3 points, 10.4 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game during his three years at Gulliver, highlighted by 18.0 points, 14.0 rebounds and 5.0 blocks as a senior.  In addition, he helped the Gulliver water polo team to a state championship as a junior and was a member of the student council.  Swindle competed in football and volleyball in addition to basketball as a freshman at Westminster.