Kevin Kinder \

West Virginia BasketballForward Jonathan Holton Suspended Indefinitely

In a brief announcement, West Virginia head basketball coach Bob Huggins has announced the suspension of senior forward Jonathan Holton. The move throws a serious crimp in West Virginia's hopes of competing for a Big 12 title.

Holton, who has become the most consistent player on the West Virginia team in recent games, is now in non-playing status. In the usual terse language from WVU, Holton's suspension was announced late on Thursday evening:

"West Virginia University men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins announced this evening that senior forward Jonathan Holton has been suspended indefinitely from the team for a violation of team rules. Holton, a native of Miami, Fla., has played in 20 games this season, averaging 9.7 points and 7.5 rebounds per game."

Other sources have indicated that the suspension could be a minimum of three games, but no confirmation of that could be obtained from official West Virginia sources.

Holton was requested for interviews following the Mountaineers' win over Kansas State, but did not appear. WVU staffers said at the time that he was receiving treatment for an injury.

The suspension comes at a critical time for the Mountaineers, who face Florida on Saturday, followed by gauntlet of Iowa StateBaylor and Kansas in the Big 12. WVU is currently tied for first in the conference, but will likely play more than one of those games without Holton, who is a dominant force on the offensive glass and as the spearhead of West Virginia's pressure defense.

WVU is left with different options to fill Holton's spot in the lineup, but those may be even more limited if freshman Esa Ahmad remains sidelined with a knee injury. Ahmad sat out WVU's win over Kansas State on Tuesday and was questionable for the Florida contest this weekend. If he returns, Nathan Adrian could fill Holton's spot. If not, the Mountaineers could go with three guards along with Adrian and Devin Williams. No matter how the lineup is shuffled, however, there is no doubt that this is a serious, perhaps devastating, blow for West Virginia.


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