The Purdue Boilermakers will be without Kelsey Barlow and D.J. Byrd when they take on the Michigan State Spartans on Sunday. Barlow has been dismissed from the team, while Byrd has been suspended following a violation of team rules, according to Sophia Voravong of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
It's news that comes on the heels of an alleged incident at a local bar. Byrd was arrested on suspicion of public intoxication, according to the report, and Barlow left before returning to find a lost wallet, leading to a confrontation. Further details are still unclear.
"This is an unfortunate situation, but we will move forward as a program. We expect our student-athletes to live up to a high standard, and when their actions become detrimental to the program, there are consequences,” head coach Matt Painter said in regard to the news.
What It Means
Barlow started 22 of the team's 26 games this season. He was averaging eight points and four rebounds to form a terrific backcourt trio with Lewis Jackson and Ryne Smith. The team's rotation takes a serious hit without him.
Losing Byrd isn't any easier to swallow. The versatile swingman had carved out a niche for himself off the bench, shooting 45 percent from beyond the arc. It's unknown how long his suspension will last, but further details about the incident will likely decide his fate.
More than anything else, Painter proves with the swift action that running a clean program takes priority over winning basketball games. Being without Barlow and Byrd for one of the regular season's most important games won't be easy, but it's a statement to the other players.
What Happens Next?
Terone Johnson and Anthony Johnson will be expected to pick up the slack. They won't have much time to prepare for their extended roles, which can often be a good thing since they don't have to overthink the situation.
Even though the losses are significant, they aren't impossible to overcome. Team leader Robbie Hummel needs to make sure everybody is on the same page to focus on the task at hand and not their missing teammates.
Purdue has a difficult schedule down the stretch, including road games against Michigan and Indiana, so the Boilermakers can't afford to fall into a slump. Sunday's game will be a strong indication of how much mental toughness the team has.
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