BLACKSBURG, Va. — Virginia Tech junior C.J. Barksdale has been suspended for the first three games of the college basketball season after a violation of team rules, Coach James Johnson announced Monday.
Barksdale was expected to be the Hokies’ starting power forward this season, but will now miss Virginia Tech’s games against South Carolina-Upstate (Saturday), West Virginia (Nov. 12) and Western Carolina (Nov. 15).
“He made a bad decision and obviously he’s got to pay for it,” Johnson said. “We expect him to still be a major part of this program and a major part of this team.”
The 6-foot-8 Barksdale started 30 games a year ago and averaged 5.6 points and 4.7 rebounds. In his place, Johnson will likely turn to sophomore Marshall Wood or use a bigger lineup with forwards Cadarian Raines and Joey van Zegeren on the floor at the same time.
“Just making the right choices. That’s all it is,” forward Jarell Eddie said when asked about Barksdale’s situation Monday. “Just try to make the right decisions on and off the court.”
Raines noted he had been ready to take on a more productive role even before Barksdale’s suspension, particularly at the free throw line. Raines, listed at 6-9 and 238 pounds, shot just 43.4 percent from the charity stripe a year ago, but claims a prescription for a new pair of contacts has worked wonders.
He didn’t realize something might be wrong with his eyesight until this offseason.
“Just being in class, looking at the board, I’m squinting at the board and they’re not,” Raines said. “So I’m just like, ‘I need to get some glasses.’ ”
One player who likely won’t replace Barksdale is freshman Maurice Kirby. Johnson announced Monday there’s “a great possibility” Kirby will take a redshirt this season because of the depth the Hokies have inside right now.