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Ole Miss’ Jelan Kendrick left the arena during warmups?

Vanderbilt Mississippi Basketball

Mississippi’s Jelan Kendrick (45) talks back at teammate Reggie Buckner, not seen, as he walks to enter the game against Vanderbilt with 4:27 left in the second half of an NCAA college basketball in Oxford, Miss., on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012. Kendrick and Buckner later had to be separated underneath the stands on the way to the locker room. Vanderbilt won 102-76. (AP Photo/Oxford Eagle, Bruce Newman) MAGS OUT NO SALES MANDATORY CREDIT


Our old friend Jelan Kendrick was back in the news Saturday afternoon.

Minutes before tip-off in Mississippi’s 60-51 win against Alabama, Kendrick -- while in uniform -- walked into the stands to get his girlfriend before leaving the arena. He eventually returned, making it back to the end of the Ole Miss bench at some point during the first half, but he never left the seat. Not for team huddles. Not for warmups in the second half.

Now, we have yet to get word why Kendrick thought it would be a good idea to ditch his team before a game started. And before we all destroy Kendrick for this move, remember that athletes are people, too. They have to deal with the same kind of pressing emergencies as the rest of us. So until we get official word on why he left or what the ramifications will be, we should digest this news with a grain of salt.

But based on Andy Kennedy’s post-game comments, I’m not that confident that Kendrick will be cleared. “I will sit back and we will revisit the situation once I have a chance to evaluate it,” Kennedy said.

In case you’ve forgotten, Kendrick is a former McDonald’s all-american that was kicked off of the Memphis team before he ever played a game for the Tigers as a result of his behavior, which included a couple of altercations with teammates.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.