One day after losing starting small forward Wynton Witherspoon to a broken left foot, the Virginia Tech men's basketball team yesterday lost freshman forward Hyman Taylor, who was dismissed from the team by Coach Seth Greenberg for a violation of team rules.

Taylor, from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is expected to transfer to another school, Greenberg said. The freshman's departure leaves the Hokies especially thin in the front court. Witherspoon, who had won one of the two starting wing positions, will miss six to eight weeks.

Things could get worse because sophomore center Robert Krabbendam, a 7-footer from the Netherlands, injured his knee during practice last week and might have to undergo surgery early next week, Greenberg said yesterday. Krabbendam, who averaged 1.0 points and 1.2 rebounds in 22 games last season, gained about 40 pounds during the offseason and was expected to be a significant contributor for the Hokies. Tech was picked to finish eighth in the ACC in preseason voting by media, after finishing 16-14 and 8-8 in the ACC in its first season in the league last season. Freshman forward A.D. Vassallo has been sidelined with an undisclosed injury, but should return to practice next week. Vassallo, who averaged 8.6 points for Puerto Rico's national team during the under-21 world championships this past summer, is expected to compete for playing time this coming season.

Also, junior guard Zabian Dowdell, the team's leading scorer with 14.4 points and 66 three-pointers last season, has been bothered by spasms in his shoulder and has been limited in practice this week.

Senior forward Allen Calloway, from Danville, Va., had cancer diagnosed during the summer and is practicing while undergoing treatment. Sophomore forward Coleman Collins missed practice this week to be in Atlanta with his father, who is battling cancer.

"This is as bad of a stretch as we've ever had," Greenberg said.

-- Mark Schlabach