UTEP not saying much about recent basketball suspensions

POSTED: 06:39 PM MST Dec 30, 2013    UPDATED: 07:24 PM MST Jan 16, 2014 
EL PASO, Texas -

Suspension after suspension after suspension.

Disciplinary absences have plagued the UTEP men's basketball team this season.

Over the weekend, two more Miners were suspended indefinitely, junior guards McKenzie Moore and Jalen Ragland. And at this point, why Moore and Ragland were suspended remains a mystery.  (Editor's Note: Moore was previously suspended this season for the New Orleans game. Read about it here.)

ABC-7 found no police reports mentioning the two Miners and head coach Tim Floyd, athletic director Bob Stull and school officials had no further comment Monday.

"We've had a setback and had a suspension, indefinite suspension, and I don't know how long it'll last," Floyd said after Saturday night's win over Western Illinois. "We've got to learn more information, but I had enough information to know that a suspension was warranted at this point."

Floyd, who has dished out multiple suspensions this season, plans to speak with players on Tuesday.

"It's a suspension based on a violation of team rules," he said. "It's very disheartening. I certainly hope they come out on the positive end of what's going on."

ABC-7 spotted Stull at the Sun Bowl luncheon Monday, but he had no comment on the situation. And UTEP school officials said, at this point, there's nothing more to add to what Floyd said about it over the weekend.

"Eventually, everything does come out, will come out," Floyd said. "But right now I've been asked not to say anything."

This is the second suspension this season for Moore. He is the team's leading scorer, averaging more than 27 minutes per game and 13 points per game.

"This would be a damaging blow," ESPN El Paso's Steve Kaplowitz said, calling Moore the glue holding the Miners together. "If you struggled against Denver and Western Illinois, what's gonna happen when you start playing the conference teams? Makes you wonder why does this group of players have such a tough time staying out of trouble. I mean, it's baffling!"

Ragland is averaging 16 minutes and four points per game, but has come around lately, leading the Miners with 19 points in a loss to New Orleans earlier this month.

The 10-5 Miners don't play again until Saturday against Angelo State at the Haskins Center. They open conference play on Jan. 9 and it's unclear whether Moore and Ragland will be back with the team by then.

Moore and reserve Justin Crosgile were suspended for the  Dec. 16 game against New Orleans.

"(Crosgile) was a distraction during the week. That's all I can tell you," Floyd said in a Dec. 16 statement on UTEP's website. "I'm going to make sure the squeaky wheels don't get all the grease around here, because we have a big picture in mind that we're trying to get to the NCAA Tournament. I feel like the distractions were a real pain to us in the last week. Obviously we couldn't get C.J. any blows [39 minutes] in the game. I thought he played hard and spirited. But we were without two guys that were in our rotation.

"We're going to have a team that's not going to be constant maintenance," Floyd said in the Dec. 16 statement. "We're just not going to go through it. We're going to come out and compete for each other. There are two kinds of guys, those with agendas and those without them, and we're going to play the guys without them."

Following the New Orleans game, Floyd commented about Moore's and Crosgile's suspensions and whether they would play against Northwestern State.

"We'll see how practice goes today," Floyd said on UTEP's Website about the then-upcoming game against Northwestern State. "I feel like we have a real opportunity to grow as a team based on guys coming back from a couple of suspensions. We'll see who they are and how long their memories are. If they are willing to make the adjustments that we feel are necessary, maybe we'll grow and get to a point where we can become a consistent basketball team. Guard play is typically the biggest reflector in the consistency of a basketball team."

Both Moore and Crosgile ended up playing against Northwestern State.