South Carolina announced the suspension of two role players on Tuesday. Head coach Frank Martin announced that sophomore forward Demetrius Henry and freshman wing Shamiek Sheppard have been suspended for the rest of the regular season due to conduct detrimental to the team.
“Our program is based on helping young people grow as individuals and helping them succeed off the court in life after college, and winning on the court as a member of our team,” Martin said in the release. “We have expectations and responsibilities that we ask our players to meet on an every day basis, and unfortunately this has not happened. I will revisit the suspensions prior to the SEC Tournament.”
The 6-foot-9 Henry started in 19 of his 21 games this season and averaged 6 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-6 Sheppard played in seven games and played 6.9 minutes per outing averaging 1.6 points and 1.3 rebounds per game.
This shouldn’t be a major loss for South Carolina, since they’ve struggled to a 12-12 start and a 3-9 start in the SEC. But it’s not a good pattern for the future since both players are underclassmen in the program who need to mature for the team to improve next season.
South Carolina freshman forward Shamiek Sheppard tore the ACL in his right knee over the summer and was expected to redshirt during the 2014-15 season, but the New York native has been cleared to return to practice early.
According to a report from the AP, Sheppard is practicing ahead of schedule and Gamecock head coach Frank Martin said that the 6-foot-6 freshman could see game action if he can practice without any setbacks. A slasher, who was regarded as a three-star prospect, according to Rivals, Sheppard could give a boost to a South Carolina bench that only has one freshman this season in Marcus Stroman. Martin had said publicly that Sheppard would redshirt this season but the freshman is recovering nicely and could help.
After starting the season 2-3, the Gamecocks have reeled off five straight wins heading into two more non-conference games before SEC season. Sheppard might not make a huge difference for the team this season, but he gives the team another able-bodied player in practice and he could provide some good minutes on the wing if he can get healthy.
College basketball’s season opener isn’t for another three weeks, and South Carolina has already lost two of its four freshmen to injury. On Saturday, in a brief statement, the university’s athletic department announced that shooting guard TeMarcus Blanton underwent surgery on his left hip.
The injury occurred during practice, according to head coach Frank Martin.
Blanton, the 6-foot-5 Locust Grove, Georgia native, joined the South Carolina program as a three-star recruit, listed in the Rivals150 in the Class of 2014. He was looking to crack the Gamecocks back court rotation with Tyrone Johnson, Sindarius Thornwell, Duane Notice and Marcus Stroman, the four-star freshman point guard.
The press release listed no information on a timetable for Blanton’s return.