MSU sophomore forward Roquez Johnson has been suspended indefinitely for an unspecified violation of team rules, head coach Rick Ray announced today at his weekly press conference.
The suspension of Johnson, a key 6-foot-7 reserve, comes while junior guard Jalen Steele remains suspended. Steele has been out the past three games, and his status for this week is “yet to be determined,” Ray said. Johnson is averaging 8.8 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.
Ray was asked if the poor decisions made by Johnson and Steele were out of character. His response was telling:
“Umm, a little bit, yes. A little bit, no. I think what it is, is like guys trying to get used to what my expectations for them are off the court. We all know what their expectations are on the court but we have some expectations for them off the court, and it’s them getting to know me. More importantly, though, what they’re trying to figure out and what they know is, when you have a kid, is how much can they get away with without getting punished. I think it’s a little bit with this situation with those older guys. Hey, how much can I get away with without getting punished? And the answer is: nothing.”
Ray said all the struggles of this team – not just the suspensions, but all the injuries – have not completely surprised him.
“I knew some bad things would happen,” he said. “When you come into a new situation and you’re changing coaches there’s going to be attrition, there’s going to be some problems. There’s going to be, as far as guys getting to know your philosophy and what have you. You never expect it to this degree. When I say to this degree, I’m talking more so with the injuries than any discipline issues or things like that.”
So as of right now, MSU has five available scholarship players, plus two walk-ons. The Bulldogs (7-17, 2-10 SEC) play at Alabama on Wednesday.
Here’s video of Ray talking about Johnson and Steele.