COLUMBIA — As of Thursday night, Missouri will still have eight available players when it plays Kansas State on Saturday and some fans might be OK with that.
Guards Stefhon Hannah and Jason Horton and forwards Marshall Brown, Darryl Butterfield and Leo Lyons were indefinitely suspended before Missouri’s 66-62 loss to Nebraska on Wednesday for breaking team rules. Team spokesman Dave Reiter said on Thursday that there is no word on when the suspensions will be over and he didn’t know when a decision would be made.
Hannah could be out for the season after his jaw was broken in a fight outside Athena Night Club in Columbia.
“Sorry guys, those sit-outs should be out another three games and I wouldn’t blink an eye,” poster SixTigers said on tigerboard.com, a popular message board for Missouri fans. “Time to show the players and fans, what happens to a nondisciplined team.”
Missouri coach Mike Anderson said after the Nebraska game that the players could return as soon as Missouri’s next game, which is against Kansas State at 7 p.m. Saturday at Mizzou Arena. Practice on Thursday was closed to the media.
“Now, how long it’s going to last? It may be one game,” Anderson said Wednesday. “Right now, we’re going through a series of things they’ve got to do.”
For some fans, one game might be too early.
“It wouldn’t bother me if the other guys sat out a couple more,” poster MTmizzou2008 said.
Missouri had eight players available against Nebraska and played seven; only walk-on Nick Berardini could have played but didn’t.
Four players were on the court for more than 35 minutes, including leading scorer and rebounder DeMarre Carroll, who played 38 minutes. The Tigers have often used 11 players in games this season.
“I was proud of those players who played last night for the heart and effort they showed. Notice I didn’t say I was proud of the ‘team,’” poster LawTiger30 said. “Those players who played last night acted like they cared about Missouri basketball and acted like they wanted to hustle and buy into the concepts coach Anderson has been selling.”
The 8,660 fans at Mizzou Arena were more involved and supportive of the players on the court Wednesday than they have been all season. That showed on the message board.
“Love Anderson for this... totally cool with this team for the rest of the season,” poster senkid said. “Lay down the law Mike Anderson.”
There was sympathy toward the suspended players as well.
“For those of you suggesting that these players should be dismissed from the team or even suspended for multiple games: do you really think that is the appropriate response for missing curfew?” poster TigerNuts said. “And don’t forget, none of these guys (except Butters) has been in trouble even once in four years.”
Carroll and Matt Lawrence, the only players made available to the media after Wednesday’s game, were not allowed to answer questions about the suspensions.
“Tonight’s press conference will be about tonight’s game,” Reiter said. “They’ve earned that right. They played hard enough.”
Butterfield was indefinitely suspended earlier this season after he was arrested and charged with third-degree domestic assault and then pled guilty to peace disturbance. He missed the intrasquad Black and Gold game and the team’s first exhibition game. The team announced Butterfield would be returning about an hour before Missouri’s second exhibition game.