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New Mexico reserve Jamal Fenton suspended three games to begin season

Top New Mexico reserve guard Jamal Fenton will miss the first three games of the 2012-13 basketball season due to a minor NCAA rules violation regarding impermissible benefits, UNM announced Monday.

Ethan Miller

The New Mexico Lobos announced Monday that senior guard Jamal Fenton has been suspended by the NCAA for the first three games of the regular season for a minor NCAA rule violation regarding impermissible benefits.

According to a release from the university’s sports communications office, the ruling will allow Fenton to play in both exhibition games, this Wednesday night against Victory University, members of the National Christian College Athletic Association, and next Monday against NCAA Division II New Mexico Highlands.

Fenton is allowed the practice and travel with the team but will sit out the midnight opener against Davidson on ESPN on Monday, Nov. 12 as well as UNM’s first two games of the Ezy Bonds Global Payments Paradise Jam Tournament in the U.S. Virgin Islands scheduled for Friday, Nov. 16 and Saturday, Nov. 17. He will be eligible to return on Nov. 19, the final day of the Paradise Jam tournament.

As a junior last season, Fenton was a critical part of the team as sixth man, spelling freshman point guard Hugh Greenwood and giving New Mexico a change of pace and spark off the bench. Fenton played in all 35 of the Lobos’ games in 2011, starting in six. Fenton averaged 6.5 points per game, 1.3 rebounds a game and 37 steals on the season. On the season, Fenton shoot 48.3% from the field and 38.1% from the three-point line. Fenton shot 66.7% on free throws. Fenton, a criminology major, hails from Houston, where he was regarded as a three-star recruit by Rivals.com and Scout.com out of Cesar Chavez High School. Scout rated him as the 25th best point guard of he 2009 class.

According to the release from UNM, neither head coach Steve Alford nor Fenton will discuss the specifics of the violation beyond what was mentioned in the official release.