A difficult year for the Minnesota Golden Gophers basketball team got worse Tuesday, as head coach Richard Pitino suspended Kevin Dorsey, Nate Mason and Dupree McBrayer for the rest of the season.
Per a release from the team (via ESPN.com's Jeff Goodman), Pitino announced the suspensions but did not specify a reason.
All three players were previously suspended for Sunday's game against Illinois, with Pitino saying in a statement (via Kyle Goblirsch of 247Sports) they did not live up to the program's standards:
Kyle Goblirsch @GobieMN
#Gophers discipline Kevin Dorsey, Nate Mason and Dupree McBrayer, holding each from tonight's game against Illinois. https://t.co/9p47G8FrLy2016-2-29 00:21:48
Pitino expanded on the suspensions for Dorsey, Mason and McBrayer during the postgame press conference, per ESPN.com:
Tonight wasn't about wins and losses, it was about making sure our guys understand that this thing is bigger than just basketball and we're going to do what we believe is right. Unfortunately, you may lose the battle but you're going to win the war. Today was unfortunately not as much about wins and losses but more about the culture of our program and that's something that we work at every single day and it's extremely important to what we're all about.
Dave Campbell of the Associated Press (via the Washington Post) confirmed through a person with knowledge of the discipline that the players were suspended because Dorsey posted "a sexually explicit video" on his Instagram and Twitter. The accounts were later deleted.
Minnesota has two regular-season games remaining before the Big Ten tournament. The Gophers are 8-20 this season, their worst mark since the 2006-07 season, and they will need to win the conference tournament to play in the NCAA tournament.
Mason leads the team in scoring and assists. Dorsey and McBrayer, both freshman, have combined to average 12.7 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game for Minnesota.