When Tarver’s away,

Michael Dougherty

Miles Tarver was in the news again on Saturday night — not because of a plethora of quote-worthy post game comments, but because of his absence on the Minnesota men’s basketball bench.
Before the starting lineups were announced for the Gophers’ 81-67 win over Appalachian State, public address announcer Dick Jonckowski announced Tarver would be scratched from the lineup and freshman star-in-waiting Joel Przybilla would get the first start of his college career.
According to the team, the Big Ten reviews all ejections. And when they reviewed Tarver’s fight with Andy Seigle of the Philippine National team in Monday night’s exhibition, they concluded Tarver’s conduct was worthy of a suspension.
“Miles is a wonderful young man, and like I’ve said he was not at fault,” Gophers coach Clem Haskins said. “The guy elbowed him and he just turned around and punched him.
“I didn’t think it was so vicious that he should be suspended, but once again we have rules and we’ve got to live with them.”
Haskins said the conference notified the team Saturday morning. He also said Terrance Simmons was exonerated for his ejection, because upon review of the tape the conference found out he was wrongfully accused of being involved in the brawl.
Tarver wasn’t allowed to be in the building for the game, and Haskins said he was obviously disappointed at not being able to play.
But Tarver’s disappointment led to Przybilla’s chance to start, and the 7-footer took advantage of it — for a while anyway.
He scored six points on a couple of nice dunks, grabbed six rebounds and blocked three shots before an elbow to the head from Appalachian State’s Blair Adderley forced him from the game.
“He was knocked dizzy so the doctors decided to hold him out the rest of the time,” Haskins said.
Another player who benefited from Tarver’s absence was redshirt-freshman Dusty Rychart. The walk-on from Grand Rapids, Minn., scored 11 points and grabbed four rebounds, numbers which impressed Mountaineers coach Buzz Peterson, best remembered as Michael Jordan’s college roommate.
“Rychart really surprised me,” Peterson said. “I made an example out of him after the game to our guys because of his aggressiveness.”
Rychart assumed an aw-shucks demeanor after the game, admitting he is still in awe of playing for a Division I school like Minnesota.
“Last year I had many, many doubts, and I was always contemplating transferring somewhere, but my parents gave me good advice to keep trying hard,” Rychart said. “All I wanted to do was get one minute and one minute would have been fine. But I scored 11 points in 17 minutes and I’m happy with that.”
Like Przybilla and Rychart, Faribault native Mitch Ohnstad is another first year Minnesotan on Haskins’ squad. And like the other two, Ohnstad had a solid debut, scoring seven points, with six assists and no turnovers.
The point guard, however, didn’t see his playing time increase with Tarver’s suspension, like Rychart and Przybilla. But he said he was proud at the way the team responded to the news.
“Obviously, it was a big blow to our team because he’s our emotional leader, but we adjusted well to it.”
Tarver will be back for Tuesday’s game at Williams Arena against Seton Hall.