Eric McKnight played a key role in Florida Gulf Coast's run to the Sweet 16 in last season's NCAA tournament, providing length and shot-blocking inside. As the Eagles enter the 2013-14 campaign with expectations, though, McKnight will miss the first six games.
Early Saturday morning, The News-Press reported that McKnight had been suspended for an undisclosed violation of team or school policy.
“Eric's disappointed,” head coach Joe Dooley said. “I think he's disappointed in himself. But he's outstanding in regaining his status on the team. He's grown up as much as any kid I've been around in a short period of time. He's trying hard . . . I'm convinced he's learned his lesson.
“This happened before I got here.”
This is the second suspension since McKnight arrived in Florida from Iowa State, as he also missed the preseason Bahamas trip last August.
McKnight will miss games against Nebraska, Hartford, Furman, Eckerd (D-3), Ave Maria (NAIA) and North Carolina State. He is expected to return against Iona on Dec. 1.
The 6-foot-9 big man averaged 6.5 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.3 blocks last season. In the Round of 32 against San Diego State, McKnight went for nine points, four rebounds and four blocks. Georgia Tech transfer Nate Hicks will fill in while McKnight is sidelined.