Przybilla controls length of suspension

Sarah Mitchell

Joel Przybilla’s suspension from the men’s basketball team is clearly in his hands.
Gophers coach Dan Monson suspended the 7-foot-1 center Tuesday indefinitely. Monson said Wednesday he had not spoken with Przybilla since he doled out the suspension Tuesday and it is up to the sophomore to make the next move.
“As I said (Tuesday), this all is in Joel Przybilla’s hands. Nothing has changed,” Monson said.
Przybilla did not show up for practice Wednesday. As to his whereabouts, Monson’s guess is as good as anybody’s.
“Maybe he’s getting his academics together. I have not spoken to him so I don’t know,” Monson said. “It’s not a basketball situation. I didn’t expect him here (on Tuesday). I don’t know if it’s a good sign. I don’t know if it’s a bad sign. I don’t know what he did academically (on Tuesday) so that is why what has happened has not changed.”
Monson suspended Przybilla before Tuesday’s practice after receiving word from University Director of Academic Services John Blanchard that Przybilla has shown a “lack of academic commitment.”
In his first season at Minnesota, Monson is making good on his word to clean up the program.
“It is simply up to (Przybilla) to adhere to the same academic guidelines that all our players adhere to,” Monson said. “And if he does that, he’ll be back. When that is depends on when he adheres to it. If he doesn’t he will not be back.”
The Gophers season continues tonight with a home game against Illinois.
Already strapped by the loss of junior John-Blair Bickerstaff to injury, the Gophers are now looking for an inside player with the same presence as Przybilla. Junior Kyle Sanden is expected to get the start.
“I don’t think in 48 hours we can change a lot of things we’re going to do,” Monson said. “Obviously not having Joel on the court is going to give us a physical disadvantage for everything we prepared for here the first three or four months. But I think these 11 guys are up to that task.”
So, practice was held Wednesday a man short. It might be that way for a while.
“(Przybilla) is not an issue for (The Illinois game) and that’s what I have to focus these guys on,” Monson said. “These 11 have a game and Joel does not.”

Sarah Mitchell covers men’s basketball and welcomes comments at [email protected]