Cal forward Solomon ruled academically ineligible

Forward Richard Solomon has been ruled academically ineligible and will miss the remainder of the 2011-12 season.

His departure ends what has been a up-and-down winter for the 6-foot-10 sophomore, and leaves the Cal men’s basketball team — tied with Stanford for first in the Pac-12 — with very little frontcourt depth. Solomon was the team’s leading rebounder at 6.2 boards per game, while also averaging 6.0 points.

“Academics are a priority,” said head coach Mike Montgomery. “We hope that Richard can get his grades right and rejoin the team next year.”

Solomon was suspended at the beginning of December for an undisclosed conduct violation, missing games against San Diego State and San Jose State. He then missed the last four games of the month with a stress fracture, and had been averaging 13.3 minutes through four games in January. The Bears have gone 4-2 without Solomon.

With road games at Washington and Washington State this weekend, Cal will rely more heavily on true freshman David Kravish as the squad tries to stay atop the conference. The wiry, 6-foot-9 forward grabs 5.6 boards per game and averaged 28.7 minutes in the six games Solomon has missed — a five-minute increase on his season-long statistic. He is also the only remaining Bear who averages at least one block per game.

Little-used forwards Robert Thurman and Bak Bak will likely get off the bench more, but neither has received consistent playing time this season.

The Bears are sixth in the Pac-12 in total rebounding, but grab 72.5 percent of available defensive rebounds to lead the conference. Swingman Allen Crabbe is currently Cal’s leading rebounder with 5.7 per game.