Mississippi State junior guard Jalen Steele, the most experienced player on the team, has been suspended indefinitely by coach Rick Ray for an unspecified violation of team rules. The suspension is effective immediately, and Steele did not travel to Gainesville for today’s game at No. 2 Florida.
Steele has been considered the leader of the Bulldogs, who are 7-14 overall, 2-7 in SEC play and losers of seven consecutive games. He’s averaging 9.5 points per game and has struggled to be offensively consistent since returning from a wrist injury that cost him eight games earlier this season. He’s shooting 34.5 percent overall, 33.3 percent from 3-point range and 90.9 percent from the free throw line. Steele has played in 13 games with 11 starts.
Steele was held to single digits in four consecutive games before scoring 15 in a 93-75 loss to Ole Miss on Wednesday. His absence means MSU is down to six available scholarship players, plus two walk-ons.
Ray, who is not commenting further on the matter, has brought down the hammer a few times now during his first year as coach. He booted Shaun Smith and Kristers Zeidaks prior to the season for repeated violations of team rules. Early in the season, Ray suspended Colin Borchert three games.