West Virginia forward Jonathan Holton (1) drives the basket while being defended by Kansas State forward Wesley Iwundu (25) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Tuesday, Jan, 26, 2016, in Morgantown, W.Va. (AP Photo/Raymond Thompson)
AP Photo/Raymond Thompson

West Virginia forward Holton suspended for rules violation

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No. 9 West Virginia will be without an important starter Saturday afternoon when they visit Florida, as it was announced Thursday night that senior forward Jonathan Holton has been suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules.

Holton’s averaging 9.7 points and 7.5 rebounds per game for Bob Huggins’ team, and his role at the head of the Mountaineers’ full court pressure is an important one. At 6-foot-8, Holton has the length and athleticism to make things difficult on opposing teams.

West Virginia doesn’t lack for depth in the front court, with players such as Elijah Macon and Esa Ahmad in line to see more playing time as a result of this disciplinary action. With Saturday’s game being followed by Big 12 contests against Iowa State, Baylor and Kansas, a prolonged absence for Holton could make things difficult on the Mountaineers as they look to make a run at the Big 12 title.

Wake Forest reinstates suspended guard

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Two weeks after his team’s season came to an end, Wake Forest head coach Danny Manning announced that guard Madison Jones had been suspended for a violation of team rules. The suspension prohibited Jones from participating in any basketball-related activities with the team, and as a result there was work to be done to ensure that he’s be a member of the team in 2015-16.

Wednesday the school announced that Jones is back with the team, as Manning has decided to reinstate the rising senior guard. Jones played in 32 games last season, starting six, and averaged 4.7 points, 2.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game.

“I have made the decision to reinstate Madison from his suspension from all basketball-related activities after several weeks away from the program,” Manning said in the release. “I have evaluated his progress over the past several weeks and feel that he has made great strides and better decisions to earn his way back. We anticipate that he continues down this path for his senior year.”

Jones’ reinstatement gives the Demon Deacons another experienced guard to call upon in 2015-16. Joining Jones as returnees on the perimeter are fellow senior Codi Miller-McIntyre (the team’s leading scorer) and sophomores Mitchell Wilbekin and Rondale Watson. Wake Forest also adds freshman Bryant Crawford to the perimeter rotation.

The presence of Jones and Wilbekin should allow Wake Forest to get Miller-McIntyre, who in addition to leading the team in scoring was also its assists leader, some opportunities to make things happen off the ball offensively.

Suspended Oregon State forward cited for DUI Sunday

2014 MGM Grand Main Event Basketball Tournament - Auburn v Oregon State
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With three games remaining on a ten-game suspension for a violation of athletic department policy, Oregon State junior forward Victor Robbins landed in trouble Sunday. According to the Corvallis Gazette Times, Robins was cited and released from Benton County Jail for driving under the influence of intoxicants.

While no specific reason was given when the program announced Robbins’ suspension in January, getting in more trouble before being allowed to return to the floor certainly isn’t a good look for Robbins.

Prior to his suspension Robbins was averaging 10.3 points and 3.5 rebounds per game, and he was a valuable reserve for a team that doesn’t have much depth. But since then Wayne Tinkle’s Beavers have continued to play at a level few expected before the season began, and on Sunday Oregon State beat Washington 64-50 in Corvallis.

Oregon State is 5-3 in its last eight games, and after Sunday’s win they’re 16-7 overall and 7-4 in Pac-12 play.

Oregon State guard suspended ten games for violation of athletic department policy

2014 MGM Grand Main Event Basketball Tournament - Auburn v Oregon State
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Less than a week after picking up the program’s biggest win in more than a decade, Oregon State announced just before its game at Washington Thursday night that reserve guard Victor Robbins has been suspended ten games for a violation of athletic department policy.

Robbins hasn’t made a start in any of the 15 games he’s played in this season but he has been an important piece for the Beavers, as he’s accounting for 10.3 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. Robbins is Oregon State’s third-leading scorer, and for a team that has essentially a seven-man rotation with Cheikh Ndiaye just outside of that group with an average of 7.2 minutes per game, this hurts Oregon State from a depth standpoint.

Robbins played 18 minutes in Oregon State’s 58-56 win over then-No. 7 Arizona on Sunday, accounting for eight points, three rebounds and one assist. Without Robbins, starting guards Malcolm Duvivier (33.2 mpg) and Langston Morris-Walker (30.1) stand to play even more than they have to this point in the season.

Gary Payton II, who leads the team in scoring and rebound and is second in assists, is averaging just over 35 minutes per game for the 11-4 Beavers.

Air Force’s Matt Mooney, Colorado State’s J.J. Avila suspended one game apiece by Mountain West

J.J. Avila and the Rams are off to the best start in school history (Getty Images)
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Early in the second half of Colorado State’s 92-87 win at Air Force Saturday afternoon there was a brief skirmish, with Colorado State’s J.J. Avila placing Air Force’s Zach Kosur in a headlock and Air Force freshman guard Matt Mooney punching Avila in the back.

For their roles in the incident, Avila and Mooney have been suspended for their respective teams’ next game with the Mountain West announcing the news Sunday night.

Mooney was assessed the penalty for striking an opponent and receiving an ejection for fighting, which carries an automatic one-game suspension under NCAA Basketball Playing Rule 10, Section 5. Avila was assessed the penalty for physical abuse of an opponent, as well as actions which either provoked conflict or involved retaliation, in violation of NCAA Basketball Playing Rule 10, Section 5, Articles 2 and 4. The conduct of both individuals also violated Sections 4.2-a. and 4.4.1 of Mountain West Rule 4 – Sportsmanship.

The “fighting” ruling on Mooney is an important one, as per NCAA rules if he were to be involved in another fight he would be suspended for the remainder of the season. Mooney, who’s averaging 7.0 points, 2.4 assists and 2.1 rebounds in 19.7 minutes per game, will miss the Falcons’ game at New Mexico Wednesday night.

As for Avila, the Rams will be without one of the best players in the Mountain West when they host Nevada Wednesday night. Avila, who averages 15.2 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game, leads Colorado State in all three of those statistical categories.

Video credit: CTV News

Illinois forward Darius Paul pleads guilty to underage drinking

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One day after it was announced that he would be suspended for the entire 2014-15 season, Illinois sophomore forward Darius Paul pleaded guilty to underage drinking in Champaign (Ill.) County Circuit Court. Paul’s charge of obstructing an officer was dropped as part of a plea agreement, and his sentence is a year of court supervision and a $325 fine.

While the legal issue that served as the final straw for head coach John Groce is now resolved, according to the Chicago Tribune it also provided insight into what the “multiple transgressions” that led to the decision to suspend Paul were.

Paul admitted to police after his arrest that he had been drinking. He also told the police that he had failed two drug tests administered by the team in the fall after using marijuana, Beckett said.

According to the Tribune the next step for the family is to discuss what Paul will do having already sat out one season following his transfer from Western Michigan. The suspension would mean that Paul would sit out a second consecutive season.