Arkansas basketball coach John Pelphrey has suspended senior forward Charles Thomas for Wednesday night's home contest with Mississippi State. Pelphrey said during his Monday news conference that Thomas had violated team rules and that the suspension could last more than one game.
Arkansas' first-year coach wouldn't go into any details regarding the suspension, and neither would Rodger Hunter, the athletic department's student life coordinator.
Pelphrey said Thomas could return for Saturday's game against Florida, "based on fulfillment of some things that will be laid out to him." And he admitted feeling let down by the 6-foot-8 native of Jackson, Miss.
"I am not really going to comment on a whole lot else about it, but I will say as a head coach, I have never been more disappointed in a young man's choices for a million reasons that you probably all know, in terms of what is going on right now and how important this (season) would be to a senior," Pelphrey said.
Thomas, who has started 16 of Arkansas' 19 games this season, wasn't made available to speak with reporters before Monday's practice.
Sophomore Michael Washington will likely start in Thomas' place Wednesday night, and senior Vincent Hunter should see increased playing time. Thomas' averages of 10.5 points and 5.1 rebounds won't be easy to make up for, but sophomore guard Patrick Beverley voiced confidence in Washington and Hunter.
"We have a lot of size and depth, and I think the other guys will step up," Beverley said. "Mike Washington is real versatile. Vincent Hunter is also real versatile."
This isn't the first time Thomas has created headlines for the wrong reasons. Thomas pled guilty to assault in the second degree on Sept. 19 and was sentenced to 20 days community service.
This also isn't the first time a Razorback has been suspended. Pelphrey suspended three players for Arkansas' first exhibition game in Cancun and suspended two players for the team's preseason Red-White game.
Thomas' suspension is proof that Pelphrey won't ease off on discipline during SEC play.
"Bottom line, I need to be as consistent as possible," Pelphrey said.
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