BOWLING GREEN - In his first public announcement concerning the three players he suspended for this weekend's season-opening tournament, Bowling Green State University men's basketball coach Louis Orr stressed that the incidents were not related and that each player is in good standing with the program.
Starters Nate Miller and Chris Knight, BG's top returning scorers, and reserve forward Cameron Madlock will not travel with the team to Minneapolis today for the NABC Classic.
Orr did not elaborate on the suspensions, stating simply that each player violated a team rule at some point during the off-season.
"It's unfortunate but I believe that they learned from their poor decisions. I know they have," Orr said. "They're going to miss traveling and we're going to miss having them, but it's a life lesson learned."
Darryl Clements and Erik Marschall will replace Miller and Knight in the starting lineup for tomorrow's game against Georgia State. Joe Jakubowski, Brian Moten and Otis Polk will also start.
The three suspended players are expected to return for next week's home game against Wayne State.
"It allows other guys the opportunity to step up," Orr said. "We may have to go small at times with one big guy and four perimeter players. We've been kind of practicing that way for awhile."
Miller, a senior preseason All-Mid-American Conference selection, averaged 13.2 points and 6.5 rebounds last year, and Knight, a sophomore, led the team with 7.3 rebounds while contributing 10.7 points. The sophomore Madlock played in 16 games, averaging five minutes.
"I commend Chris, Nate and Cameron because they really helped prepare us for this trip," Orr said. "They've been great in practice. We said this has to be a team effort, including them. Even though they're not traveling they can make us better and help prepare us."
BG will play host to Minnesota on Saturday before concluding the tournament with Concordia-St. Paul on Sunday.
MEN SIGN TWO: Orr announced two high school seniors will join the team beginning next year. Findlay guard Luke Kraus and Danny McElroy, a 6-foot-8 forward from Cincinnati La Salle, made their commitments official yesterday on the first day high school seniors could sign letters of intent with college programs.
Kraus, a two-time defending player of the year in the Greater Buckeye Conference, verbally committed to BG in early August.
"He's just a really tough cookie, a competitor, and a very exciting player to watch," Orr said. "It's great to have another local product be a part of our family."
McElroy committed to Cincinnati during his sophomore year but a falling out ensued and he chose BG in September. McElroy averaged 14.2 points and seven rebounds last year.
"This young man is just a gladiator," Orr said. "He's rugged, he has a quiet strength, and he's a guy that will do the little things as well as the big things."
Cincinnati Aiken teammates Darren Goodson and Cortez Howell, who committed to BG in October 2007, did not sign. Goodson was charged with sexual assault in September but was later acquitted of the charges.
Orr indicated that BG could potentially sign another player during the spring.
WOMEN SIGN THREE: BG women's coach Curt Miller announced the addition of three players to the program, including Anthony Wayne's 6-foot post player Allison Papenfuss. With one season to go, Papenfuss already has set the school's career scoring record with 1,133 points.
"In the long run she could bring us some publicity similar to what [Clay graduate] Kate Achter did with a successful career from a local athlete," Miller said. "She's very, very important to our program."
Papenfuss is joined in the recruiting class by 5-11 wings Chrissy Steffen, of Carmel, Ind., and Jessie Tamerlano of North Royalton, Ohio.
Steffen scored a state record 31 points in last year's Class 4A state championship, which Carmel won. Tamerlano, who has averaged 16 points for her career, is the sister of BG soccer player Jackie Tamerlano.
The three recruits will begin their BG careers at the same time as transfers Tamika Nurse and Maggie Hennegan, who are sitting out this season.
"If you roll that five out as a starting lineup, that is a five who could compete night in and night out for a championship in this conference," Miller said. "When you infuse those five with the rest of our talent, we are really excited about our future."
UNCERTAINTY: Miller has had a hard time preparing for tomorrow's season-opener at Temple because he's unsure what style has been implemented by the Owls' new coach Tonya Cardoza. A former standout at Virginia, Cardoza has spent the last 14 years as an assistant at Connecticut.
Cardoza takes over for Dawn Staley, who left to coach at South Carolina.
"There's not a tougher assignment than to play the first game of the year against a first-time head coach," Miller said. "We will have to make adjustments on the fly."
Temple returns three starters from a team that advanced to the NCAA tournament before bowing out after one game.
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