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Chris Harrison-Docks Suspended From WKU: What It Means For Hilltoppers Moving Forward

Chris Harrison-Docks, WKU's resident three-point specialist, was suspended hours before Tuesday night's victory against Detroit. How big a blow is this to a team still trying to find it's identity?

Joshua Lindsey-USA TODAY Sports

A couple of hours before WKU tipped off against the Detroit Titans (a game which the Hilltoppers won 79-74, if you cared), news broke that the team had suspended three-point specialist Chris Harrison-Docks indefinitely.

Harrison-Docks, who has had minor run-ins with trouble before, is averaging 10.3 points and 2.4 assists per game, and is shooting three's at a career high of 38.1% through 11 games, and hit the first three in the second half in this past Saturday's contest against Louisville to continue the third-longest streak in the country of consecutive games with at least one made three-pointer (which extended to 884 with the Detroit victory).

But even in that Louisville game (where CHD netted just five points and went 1-5 from three), something seemed off. He tallied only 15 minutes, and didn't play the first 10 or so minutes of the second half (oddly enough, playing in nearly none of the Tops run to open the back 20 minutes that brought WKU within seven points of the Cards). I wondered if he might be in the dog-house for some reason, but someone made the point that his shot looked off and Harper just wanted to roll with the hot hands.

That might have been true. But, with the news breaking Tuesday, it seems my initial suspicion could have been in play as well.

Ray Harper, naturally, was asked about CHD in his post-Detroit game presser, and had the following to say:

Maybe I'm falling for the "coach speak," here, but the way Harper phrased that makes it seem like nothing too harsh happened with CHD, but then again, maybe I'm just a sucker for the phrase "he's a great kid." Once again, the suspension is indefinite, but if CHD does "figure some things out," I don't believe it's out of the realm of possibility he's back with the team by the next game, which comes on Dec. 28th against Brescia (Ky.).

But what if the suspension looms past that. Far past that. What are the Tops to do without CHD?

Good gosh you are pesky. Fine, I'll look into my magic eight ball. In the first year post-George Fant, T.J. Price and Trency Jackson, Harrison-Docks was one of the guys many fans looked to for comfort on the court, along with Justin Johnson and Nigel Snipes. They were the ones who were going to transition the team from that era to the present, and hopefully do so successfully (the jury is still out with that "successfully," bit, but things have turned around with WKU having won three of the last four).

And, to their credit, they have. Snipes has proven to be a huge asset, finally stepping into his own as a player, and Johnson grows more and more in each game he plays. CHD has been there, too, but if you were to ask a WKU fan, he'd probably be the third most important piece of those three mentioned.

As for who steps up in place of CHD if this suspension runs into, say, midway through conference play? First and foremost, Fredrick Edmond has to be more consistent than he has been of late. He had a nice day against Louisville, and followed it up with a 14 point, five rebound effort. If WKU gets that type of consistency out of him each time on the floor, we good.

Aaron Cosby also is the logical candidate to step up for Harrison-Docks, and if the Detroit game is any indication, that won't be a problem. Cosby finished with 17 points (going a perfect 6-for-6 at the charity stripe), six assists and four rebounds in what Harper called his "best game in a WKU uniform."

Harrison-Docks not being with the team isn't a death sentence. It's certainly not ideal, but the Tops have pieces that can play in his absence. Although, hopefully he figures everything out before the 28th (okay, before January 3rd when CUSA play begins at Marshall) and all of this is a moot point.