Western Kentucky men’s basketball coach Ken McDonald told reporters today that WKU junior point guard Ken Brown has been suspended indefinitely due to a violation of team rules.
“It is disappointing any time you have to deal with (something like this),” McDonald said. “But it is going to make us stronger in the long run because some other guys will have to get thrown into the fire and a couple different roles have to shift.
“It’s very serious, and really all I have to say about it is that it’s serious in nature and we continue to talk about the standards we have for our student-athletes and living up to them. These guys aren’t perfect, but they do have to show improvement and they do have to try to do what we’re asking.”
Turnovers and point guard play have been an issue for WKU so far this season, so the loss of one more body at that spot further deepens the problem.
The only two point guards now currently on the active roster are sophomore Jamal Crook and walk-on freshman Mike Gabbard.
“We’re searching for that guy,” McDonald said. “We haven’t had consistency at the point. I want some body language out there from someone with some confidence.
“I think we’ll see (Gabbard) in the line up some, I want him to take advantage of this opportunity. It’s not easy though.”
McDonald also added today that he had a seniors-only meeting with the squad on Thursday, which then turned into a players-only meeting to discuss the current state of the program and how improvement needs to come.
“We had a senior-only meeting and a great talk about all the different things that go into a new basketball team with seven new guys and different mentalities,” McDonald said. “We put a lot on the table and had a good healthy discussion about where we’re at, where we want to be and most importantly how we get there. That senior meeting went to a team-only meeting to correct some of the little things that come along with the growing pains that go into a season with seven new bodies. … As a program, we’re not happy that the progress isn’t a little bit better at this point.
“Any team with new guys coming in has to like each other between the lines and play for each other. We have a lot of different personalities on this team. Juan (Pattillo) comes in with a strong personality that people gravitate to. (Steffphon Pettigrew’s) been here four years, he’s still a young adult and he has to cope with the fact that guys gravitate to Juan even though he’s been here four years. People respect Pett to death and know what he brings to the table, but he’s not an out-going type personality. Then you’ve got (Sergio Kerusch) who is an out-going personality and (Cliff Dixon) who has made a real 180 turnaround with his understanding of how hard he has to play and the type of role he has. That’s what we’re trying to focus on with those four guys, the seniors have to get themselves consistent and right and I think that’ll trickle down into the team. It’s all kind of normal stuff when you’ve got a lot of new guys playing together in big-time competition.
“We’re seeing baby steps (with maturity), which is kind of an ironic word. We’re seeing small strides. You’re not happy overall, we should be further along with some things. … The message is improvement and maturity is always important. You have maturity issues because you’re dealing with 18 to 20-year-old kids. They’re not going to be perfect, they’re going to make mistakes, they’re going to be emotional and that’s a big part of our business – dealing with emotions that go into high-level basketball. We have high expectations and they get even higher (with the schedule). You can go out and play some teams and give yourself a lot more confidence, but at the end of the day have you really made yourself better with adverse situations that force you to mature? That’s part of the process.”