Schilling opts to transfer after second suspension from team

by Jabari Ritchie

After being suspended indefinitely from Minnesota’s basketball team on Saturday for violating team rules, starting shooting guard Shane Schilling will transfer from the University.

He has not yet announced where he is transferring to.

Schilling, a junior who averaged 8.4 points and had a .388 three-point percentage in 31 starts last season, was suspended before Saturday’s closed-door scrimmage.

Schilling’s departure leaves an opening at shooting guard, but Gophers coach Dan Monson says several players could fill the role. However, he said Schilling’s presence will be missed.

“It obviously hurts the team,” said Monson, who spoke with Schilling and his father Monday morning. “It’s obviously a setback because of the sheer numbers and the fact that he’s got experience. He started 31 games last year. He knew the system. He’d been in it for two years and that makes him difficult to replace. To go from 10 scholarship players to nine scholarship players is very difficult.”

Monson informed the team of Schilling’s decision before Monday’s practice.

“Obviously, Shane’s part of our family, and none of them wants to see anything like this happen,” Monson said. “They care about Shane and they care about the program and they understand both situations.”

One unique option Monson discussed was playing both returning starter Kevin Burleson and senior Kerwin Fleming at point guard.

“That’s always been something that’s been in our plans,” said Monson, who reached the Elite Eight in 1999. “I think one of my successes we had at Gonzaga was playing two point guards simultaneously…It just makes the team more versatile if you have a lead and you’re trying to protect your lead.”

Burleson, Fleming, Tavarus Bennett, Steve Esselink and freshman Maurice Hargrow can all play at shooting guard.

“I think that this is a very versatile team and I think we have enough options to overcome,” Monson said. “It’s just that it can’t mount and, as I told the players, everybody’s got to have their ankles taped, everybody’s got to be at class, everybody’s got to be doing everything that they need to not let this team down. Our numbers are down again.”

Jabari Ritchie covers men’s basketball and welcomes comments at [email protected]