After winning just two games in Patriot League play last season the Navy Midshipmen had hopes of improving their standing within the league despite being picked to finish last in the preseason poll. That process became a lot tougher on Tuesday, as the Naval Academy made the decision to suspend leading scorer Tilman Dunbar for the remainder of the season according to Bill Wagner of the Annapolis (Md.) Capital-Gazette.
Tilman, along with sophomore guard Phil Guglielmo, was suspended for a violation of Naval Academy rules by the Commandant of Midshipmen, Captain Bill Byrne according to the report. Both players will be allowed to continue practicing and study at the Naval Academy, with the possibility of being reinstated for the 2014-15 season still on the table as well.
While disappointed that Dunbar will not be returning to the court this season, [Navy head coach Ed] DeChellis said he was happy he’ll remain at the academy.
“I’m thrillled in that regard because Tilman is a very good player and a good kid,” DeChellis said. “Hopefully, we can put this behind us and move on. I think Tilman has learned his lesson.”
Dunbar hasn’t played since being suspended indefinitely prior to the Midshipmen’s December 31 game at UMBC, so DeChellis’ team does have experience playing without their leading scorer (11.9 ppg) and assist man (5.0 apg). But to lose the sophomore guard for the remainder of the season makes the process of avoiding last place more difficult for Navy, which has lost six of its last seven games and currently has a 1-3 record in Patriot League play (6-9 overall).
With Dunbar sidelined guards Kendall Knorr and Brandon Venturini have been the team’s best distributors, with Knorr averaging 2.0 assists per game (1.5 assist-to-turnover ratio) and Venturini not far behind with an average of 1.7 assists per contest (1.0 A/T ratio). And as a result of Dunbar’s suspension Venturini, who’s averaging 10.4 points per game, becomes Navy’s leading scorer.