Minnesota coach Richard Pitino said Kevin Dorsey’s suspension was due to some “punctuality things” and called it “nothing major,” noting that if his freshman guard has “a good week,” he anticipates him playing next week in the season opener.
The university announced Dorsey would be suspended for the team’s final exhibition – an 81-64 win over Southwest Minnesota State – due to “failing to meet his academic obligations as a student-athlete” just before the game.
“It’s just little things kind of adding up,” Pitino said. “There are so many things that go into being a student athlete on a daily basis from the student side of it, the appointments they have to go to – it’s a full-time gig. It’s just some punctuality things that we’ve got to correct right now so that they don’t add up. If he has a good week, I anticipate him being back no problem.
Asked what Dorsey needs to do to show he’s ready to return on Friday, when the team opens vs. Missouri- Kansas City, Pitino abruptly replied “Be on time.”
Said senior Carlos Morris: “I don’t think it’s that big of a deal, but we definitely need Kevin. We’re definitely going to need him this year, need him playing for us right now.”
KONATE STILL ON TRACK
Pitino said he expects 6-11 big man Bakary Konate, who has been out more than three weeks with a stress fracture in his left foot, to return to practice on Tuesday.
“We’ll see how it progresses,” he said. “I always worry about a guy who’s missed –he’s almost missed a month – I just worry about his fluidity in the game. I want him back ready to play. He’s not a natural basketball player to begin with, so it takes him some time.”
This week, the sophomore has been continuing with pool workouts and rides on the stationery bike, Konate said, as well as some shooting on the court.
“I will be kind of nervous to start now because everybody is in better shape than me even though I’m working out with the trainer and [strength and conditioning] coach Shaun Brown,” he said. “But I’m very excited to go back with the team.”
If Konate does return healthy, there is still a chance Pitino could start 6-9 backup Gaston Diedhiou, who has been filling in nicely in his absence. Diedhiou finished with six points, four rebounds and a pair of blocks on Friday, and Pitino lauded his post defense.
“I think Gas is actually giving us pretty good minutes,” Pitino said.
SENIORS MORRIS AND KING ARE CAPTAINS
Pitino said seniors Joey King and Carlos Morris were voted team captains by their teammates.
“Coach trusts us and it’s a big-time responsibility but a great opportunity,” King said.