Przybilla’s gone, Gophers hit the road at bad time

Sarah Mitchell

It’s apparent that Joel Przybilla has left the Gophers men’s basketball team for good. But Minnesota coach Dan Monson says he still hasn’t heard from the departing sophomore.
“As far as communication with him, I have not had that,” Monson said.
The last time the two talked was last Tuesday when Monson suspended Przybilla for a lack of academic commitment.
“He said at that time that he wasn’t really willing to commit academically,” Monson said.
“It was something he was going to have to want to do, and obviously, he decided he didn’t want to do that. So, he never contacted me again.”
Road runners
Minnesota (12-11, 4-9 Big Ten) plays back-to-back road games this week, stopping at Seton Hall on Wednesday before heading to Iowa on Saturday. And that’s bad news for Monson.
“It probably isn’t the best news for our basketball team right now,” Monson said. “We’re in search of good news.”
A 97-61 kick in the hinder at Purdue last Saturday coupled with the loss of junior John-Blair Bickerstaff (injury) and Przybilla are reason enough for the Gophers to stay home.
But Hawkeyes coach Steve Alford is looking forward to Saturday’s game, saying Minnesota hasn’t lost a step competitively.
“I expect a tough showing on Saturday,” Alford said. “I think they’re as talented as anybody in the league.”
Alford also showed support for Monson’s handling of Przybilla.
“Somebody either wants to go to class and be a part of the collegiate atmosphere, or you don’t. It doesn’t matter if you’re 6-foot tall or 7-foot tall — you are going to have to adhere to the collegiate game, or you just move on,” Alford said. “I’ve got a lot of respect for Dan Monson and his staff, and they’re doing it the right way.”
O’Neill’s young ‘uns
Working with a young team that has yet to achieve — the Wildcats are 0-12 in conference play — has brought out the best in Northwestern coach Kevin O’Neill.
The Wildcats’ latest disaster came Saturday. Illinois took advantage of the inexperienced Northwestern team, starting the game on a 23-0 run. To O’Neill’s shock, the Wildcats did score, but not much. They were still defeated 63-30.
“We got out-of-sync in the first half and couldn’t score. I thought we might get shut out for a few minutes,” O’Neill said. “I was wondering what the hell was going on.”
Sharing is caring
Michigan State guard Mateen Cleaves and Ohio State guard Michael Redd have been named Big Ten co-players of the week.
Cleaves helped the Spartans to wins over the Buckeyes and Wisconsin last week. Against Ohio State on Tuesday, Cleaves scored 24 points before chipping in 12 points to lift his team over Wisconsin on Saturday.
Redd was equally impressive in the Buckeyes’ loss at Michigan State and Saturday’s win over Indiana. The junior posted a season-high 28 points, 10 boards and five assists against the Hoosiers.

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