Joey Van Zegeren, a 6-foot-10 junior forward, was suspended indefinitely by the Virginia Tech program on Friday afternoon, the team announced.
“Joey failed to meet the expectations we have for our team,” Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams said in a statement, via WDJB 7. “He demonstrated a lack of discipline and self-control at practice and as such this suspension was warranted.”
The Hokies will enter the start of ACC conference play without the services of their top rebounder and third leading scorer, as Van Zegeren was posting averages of 9.8 points and 5.3 boards per game.
Virginia Tech opens league play on Saturday at home against Syracuse. The Orange feature one of the nation’s most improved big men in Rakeem Christmas, who is averaging 17.8 points and 8.8 boards per game. Van Zegeren’s suspension means it’ll be up to Shane Henry and 7-foot freshman Satchel Pierce — both logging less than a dozen minutes per game — to contain the frontline of Christmas and Chris McCullough.
The Hokies begin league play with an 8-5 record.
Buzz Williams is off to a tremendous start on the recruiting trail at Virginia Tech. After pulling a shocker and switching from Marquette to the ACC program earlier this spring, Williams landed two of his former commits at the Big East school as top-100 shooting guard Ahmed Hill and three-star center Satchel Pierce committed to the Hokies on Saturday morning during their official visits.
The news of the commitments was first reported by Scout.com‘s Evan Daniels.
The 6-foot-4 Hill is regarded as Rivals.com‘s No. 69 player in the 2014 national class and he was one of the best unsigned prospects remaining after recently decommitting from Marquette and being released from his NLI. The native of Augusta, Georgia played for the Southern Stampede in the Nike EYBL and comes from Aquinas High School.
Pierce, a 6-foot-10 center from Kiski School in Saltsburg, Pennsylvania, is a three-star prospect and gives the Hokies an immediate boost on the interior since they lost freshman center Trevor Thompson to transfer this offseason. Pierce played on the grassroots circuit with the Ohio Phenoms.
This type of thing shows that players are committing to play for a head coach just as much as a school as we saw Kingsley Okoroh switch his commitment from Tennessee to Cal when Cuonzo Martin went to the West Coast earlier this week.