Three players suspended for rest of year

Nate Mason, Kevin Dorsey and Dupree McBrayer are done playing this season.

Freshman guards Dupree McBrayer, left, and Kevin Dorsey defend against Rutgers at Williams Arena on Feb. 23. McBrayer and Dorsey were suspended from play for the remainder of the season along with sophomore guard Nate Mason by head coach Richard Pitino on Tuesday.

Liam James Doyle, Daily File Photo

Freshman guards Dupree McBrayer, left, and Kevin Dorsey defend against Rutgers at Williams Arena on Feb. 23. McBrayer and Dorsey were suspended from play for the remainder of the season along with sophomore guard Nate Mason by head coach Richard Pitino on Tuesday.

Ryan Falk

Guards Nate Mason, Dupree McBrayer and Kevin Dorsey all ended their seasons early on Tuesday.

Head coach Richard Pitino announced the three would be suspended the remainder of the year. All three were suspended for one game on Sunday for violating team rules and did not play in the team’s game against Illinois.

The Associated Press reported on Monday night that the three players were suspended after a sexually explicit video was posted on Dorsey’s Twitter and Instagram accounts, both of which were later disabled. The University released a statement Monday that said it would not provide additional information on the initial suspensions “at this time” because the discipline was private education data.

Pitino said on Tuesday he was unaware of any criminal investigations at this time and declined to address the status of the three players after this year.

“We took actions we thought were necessary, and at the end of the day, we hold our student-athletes to a very high standard,” Pitino said. “If they don’t meet those, there’s consequences. And, certainly, [the decisions] are difficult, but it is my job to do what I believe is best for this program, and that’s what we have done.”

Mason, a sophomore, is the Gophers leading scorer this year. He started 27 games for the team and averaged 13.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game.

McBrayer, a freshman, made 14 starts and averaged 5.9 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game.

Dorsey, also a freshman, played in 26 games and averaged 6.8 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.4 assists.

“It’s obviously a little frustrating, but what it comes down to is we hold ourselves to a high standard,” senior forward Joey King said. “Mistakes happen, and [you’ve] got to deal with the consequences.”

The suspension comes on the heels of the dismissal of senior guard Carlos Morris from the program on Feb. 17.

The team has had other discipline issues come up in the past two years under Pitino, starting with guard Zach Lofton being dismissed from the program in October 2014 for failing to meet team obligations.

Guard Daquein McNeil was arrested and charged with third-degree assault and domestic assault and was suspended indefinitely in November 2014. He plead guilty on Aug. 3.

Dorsey was also suspended for the team’s second exhibition game against Southwest Minnesota State on Nov. 6 before he and his two teammates were suspended Sunday.

“Coach Pitino and I have had extensive discussions during the last several days, and I support his decision to suspend three student-athletes for the remainder of the season,” interim athletics director Beth Goetz said in a statement Tuesday. “The privilege of representing the University of Minnesota comes with great responsibility, and we hold all of our student-athletes accountable.”

The Gophers lost to Illinois 84-71 on Sunday without the three guards. Freshman guard Stephon Sharp started for the first time in the game and played 39 minutes. Sharp played 39 minutes total in the Gophers’ first 28 games.

Minnesota has six eligible scholarship players left on the roster after the suspensions.

“[Hearing about the suspensions] was disappointing, but we’re just going to move forward with the guys who will be playing tomorrow,” King said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.