Projected starter Rakeem Brookins and backup forward Trenity Burdine have each been suspended for the Saints' first three games for violating athletic department policy. The two will miss games against Vermont, Navy and Cal State Northridge.
Both players were returning to the lineup after red-shirting last year. During his freshman campaign Brookins was a strong distributor of the ball and turned in an impressive 2.9 percent steal percentage on defense. He was expected to move off the point and into more of a shooting guard role this season.
"I'm disappointed in my actions, and fully support the department's decision," Brookins said in a release. "I'm looking forward to a great season, and can't wait to get back on the court and help my teammates compete for a MAAC Championship. For now, my focus is on getting better each day in practice, and doing what I can to help get the team ready for Vermont."
Burdine came off the bench during his freshman season, and displayed a little trouble handling the ball. He was expected to fill a larger role in the offense this year.
The players will be allowed to practice with the team during their suspensions.
Mark Singelais of the Times Union has reported that freshman guard Ryan Oliver will start in place of Brookins against the Catamounts. According to Ken Pomeroy's initial projections, all three of the games these two will miss were supposed to be close, with two ending as wins.
Although these players aren't on the level of an O.D. Anosike, the loss of these two could put the Saints on a three-game slide to begin the year.