By Eric Short
Two men’s basketball players have been suspended and will not play in the team’s first game of the season.
Senior guard Michael Dixon and freshman guard Dominique Bull are suspended indefinitely for violation of team rules. Coach Frank Haith made the announcement at Friday’s press conference before the team’s practice.
“We have high expectations for our students, particularly our seniors, and we expect them to lead by example,” Haith said. “This needs to be a time of personal growth for these young men.”
The players will not play in Monday’s exhibition game against Northwest Missouri State and Haith stressed that the amount of time they are out is completely up to them. “The time frame for which they are out depends on the player and their response to adversity,” Haith said.
Haith said the suspension was strictly a consequence of the two players violation of team policy and that they had not broken any laws or NCAA rules.
Senior forward Laurence Bowers said he supports Haith’s decision but also stands by his teammate.
“It was coach’s decision and as a team we stand behind coach, but we also stand behind Mike,” Bowers said. “ We got to support him to make this team better.”
Both Dixon and Bull were unavailable for comment.
With Dixon and Bull out of the Missouri rotation for the time being, Haith said he hopes that their time off will give other guys more opportunities. He said he plans on using a number of different lineups during the Tigers’ first few games to see what works best.
One player that will be the focal point of all of those various lineups is junior guard Phil Pressey.
Pressey was recently named SEC preseason player of the year, an honor that both Pressey and Haith say doesn’t carry much weight.
“It’s definitely cool and an honor but it only means I have to work harder,” Pressey said. “ I got to go out and earn it.”
“What an honor for him and our program,” Haith said. “ But, it’s no secret that people around the country know Phil Pressey’s value.”
Haith also noted the development of sophomore Jabari Brown, a transfer from Oregon.
“Jabari is on a roll he is playing very well right now,” Haith said.
Due to NCAA transfer rules Brown will not be eligible until Missouri’s December 17 game against South Carolina State, but the guard from Oakland doesn’t think jumping into the rotation in the middle of the season will be too difficult.
“It might take a couple of games to get on the same page with guys and be a part of that chemistry but I don’t think it will be very hard,” Brown said. “ We have such a family environment here so fitting in is easy and I’m just going to play whatever role I can.”
Missouri is scheduled to play Northwest Missouri State on Monday, Oct. 29, at 7:00 p.m. at Mizzou Arena.