Sophomore point guard Trevor Releford, senior forward JaMychal Green and redshirt junior guard Andrew Steele, all starters, have been suspended from Alabama's basketball team for violating team rules. The three were sent home from Baton Rouge and joined junior forward Tony Mitchell, who is also suspended for conduct detrimental to the team.
"We are extremely disappointed in the choices and decisions made by these young men that has led to this suspension,” head coach Anthony Grant said in statement. “Talent is a gift, but character is a choice. The consequences of their choices have negatively impacted them as individuals and the people that love and support them. Our hope is that they will be mature enough to accept responsibility for their actions and place a higher value on their character."
The combo of Releford, Green, Steele and Mitchell account for 59.8 percent of Alabama's scoring. With the new suspensions, Alabama loses its team leader in assists, steals, minutes played and the conference leader in free-throw percentage (Releford); the team leader in offensive rebounds and free throw attempts, as well as the only senior (Green); and the second-best free throw shooter as well as the player with the most knowledge of the system, after being an assistant coach during his battle with concussions and ankle injuries (Steele).
Alabama will take the court tonight with only two players averaging over 20 minutes per game: freshmen guards Levi Randolph and Trevor Lacey. None of the remaining players in Baton Rouge average double-digit points or have more than four rebounds per game.
After tonight's game against LSU, Alabama has to return home for the toughest home stretch of the season, playing Florida on Feb. 14 and Tennessee on Feb 20. Since all four suspensions are indefinite with no set timetable for a return, it is unclear if any of the players will be back for either game.
For more Alabama athletics coverage from Brett, look at the following mediums:
brettatbama.wordpress.com, Brett's in-depth blog on all things Alabama athletics, and cw.ua.edu, the website of the newspaper Brett writes for.