Zion Harmon’s quest to play basketball this season at Marshall County High School (Benton, Ky.) may have come to an end Friday when a judge denied a preliminary injunction that would have made him eligible.
Judge Thomas Russell of U.S. District Court in Paducah, Kentucky, issued his ruling Friday, writing that it “was a close call” and “after analyzing and balancing the four required factors, this Court reluctantly finds that the requested preliminary injunction is not warranted in this matter.”
Chip Adams, Harmon’s attorney, declined to comment on the ruling.
An appeal to a higher court still is possible, but Harmon is running out of time to play this season. Marshall County (8-9) will play its final regular-season game Feb. 16, and district tournament play will open across Kentucky on Feb. 18.
“I don’t consider this a victory or loss as it is a preliminary decision of the Court and the matter is still essentially ongoing,” Kentucky High School Athletic Association commissioner Julian Tackett said. “When our membership adopts rules to govern all 280 schools and they are properly put into place, I feel the members expect application and defense of those rules.
“We will continue to monitor future developments in the matter.”
Harmon, ranked by ESPN.com as the nation’s top point guard in the Class of 2021, played at Antioch (Tennessee) Lighthouse Christian as a seventh-grader, won a state title at Bowling Green as an eighth-grader and scored 32.7 points per game at Adair County last season as a freshman on his way to first-team Courier Journal All-State honors.
Upon transferring to Marshall County over the summer, Harmon was ruled ineligible by the KHSAA on Oct. 16. An appeal to the KHSAA was denied Nov. 15.
The KHSAA has ruled Harmon ineligible until March 5, which marks one year since his last varsity competition at Adair County. That date is the eve of the Boys Sweet 16 set for March 6-10 at Rupp Arena in Lexington.