Pitt's Gilbert Brown Suspended

An inexperienced Pitt men's basketball team got a little greener, as redshirt junior Gilbert Brown -- the most-experienced returning player -- was suspended for the fall semester for academic reasons.

Gilbert Brown, who was slated to start at the small forward spot for Pittsburgh, received the team's award for academic excellence at the annual season-ending awards banquet a few months ago. The 6-foot-6, 200-pound Harrisburg, Pa. native will be eligible to rejoin he team Dec. 20.

That means Brown would have missed the first 11 games in the upcoming season, including the O'Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic in Kansas City and Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden. However, he is expected to return in time for the beginning of Big East Conference play.

Brown has played in 72 career games, including 32 last season, and averaged 5.4 points and 3.1 rebounds per game. He was expected to increase those numbers, as his role increased with the departure of forward Sam Young.

Brown also was expected to provide some veteran leadership, as the Panthers pressed on after losing seniors Levance Fields, Young and Tyrell Biggs to graduation and sophomore DeJuan Blair to an early entrance for the NBA Draft.

Pitt has only two seniors, Jermaine Dixon and Centenary transfer Chase Adams, on its roster.

Pitt coach Jamie Dixon, who announced the suspension through Pitt's media relations department, and Brown were unavailable for comment.

Brown started 15 games as a redshirt freshman in the 2007-08 season after Mike Cook injured his knee. He averaged 6.5 points and 3.1 rebounds per game that season and earned the Coaches Award for outstanding attitude at the team banquet following the season.

With Brown on suspension, Pitt's most experienced returning player is junior guard Bradley Wanamaker. Senior guard Jermaine Dixon is next after starting all 36 games for the 31-5 Panthers last season. The player most likely to get more playing time with Brown on the sideline is sophomore Nasir Robinson.

Pitt is coming off its most successful NCAA tournament run, which went into the Elite Eight last spring. The Panthers have qualified for eight straight NCAA tournaments with Jamie Dixon on the bench.

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