Sophomore cited for poor attitude
John Calipari suspended Memphis sophomore forward Sean Banks indefinitely on Tuesday for what the coach deemed a poor attitude that has been an issue for months.
Calipari announced the suspension on the school's Web site, saying that Banks had been suspended for violating team rules. Banks will not play in Saturday's game against Austin Peay.
Calipari told ESPN.com that Banks will not return until he proves to his teammates and the coaching staff that he wants to be a part of the team and abide by program rules on a daily basis.
Banks was benched for the start of Saturday's loss to Ole Miss, scoring a season-low five points on 1-for-8 shooting off the bench in 25 minutes. He has started eight of nine games, averaging 16.0 points (second on the team) and 6.1 rebounds and blocking 11 shots.
Banks' suspension has been building for months, beginning when he left the team following the season to head home to New Jersey without telling the staff. He then angered Calipari in July when he committed to play for USA Basketball and didn't show up for the trials for the World Championship for Young Men's Qualifying team, even though they were being held at the New Jersey Nets' facility, a 15-minute drive from his house. Banks then apparently didn't come back to school in shape.
"Sean didn't do anything major. He didn't follow the rules," Calipari told ESPN.com.
The Tigers are in a rut, having lost their last two games (to Pittsburgh in New York in the Jimmy V Classic and to the Rebels at home) to fall to 5-4. Memphis also lost to ranked teams Syracuse (in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic) and Maryland (in the Hall of Fame Tipoff Classic) earlier in the season.
Banks was named ESPN.com's National Freshman of the Year last year after leading the Tigers to a share of the Conference USA title.
The news grew worse Tuesday for Memphis when backup point guard Jeremy Hunt underwent surgery for a broken left wrist. Calipari said Hunt will miss four weeks.
Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com.
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