The preseason favorites to win the West Division of the Ohio Valley Conference will be shorthanded when they open their season on Friday night at Saint Louis due to a violation of team rules.
On Wednesday Southeast Missouri State head coach Dickey Nutt announced that forwards Nino Johnson and Tyler Stone, his two best players, have both been suspended for two games due to their breaking of an unspecified team rule. Stone (15.5 ppg, 7.8 rpg in 2012-13), a second-team All-OVC selection last season, was the preseason pick to win OVC Player of the Year this season with Johnson (11.1, 8.8) being a preseason All-OVC selection.
“I am disappointed to announce that Tyler and Nino will be suspended for the first two games,” said Nutt according to Catlin Bogard of OVCball.net. “No one is bigger than this program. We have rules and consequences in place and our players are held accountable.”
With Stone and Johnson out of the lineup the Redhawks’ chances of upsetting the reigning Atlantic 10 champions took a significant hit, and the task would have been difficult even if those two were able to play. Stone and Johnson will also miss the Redhawks’ game against Central Baptist on November 11, and they’ll be eligible to return when SEMO visits IUPUI on November 16.