By Scott HOTARD
December 23, 2012
Unbeaten through five games on the court, the LSU men’s basketball team suffered a major loss Friday off of it.
First-year coach Johnny Jones announced point guard Anthony Hickey was suspended from the team indefinitely for a violation of athletic department and university policies.
“We will cooperate fully with the athletic department and university on the matter,” Jones said Friday in a news release. “There is a responsibility that comes with playing college basketball. If a player doesn’t take care of his responsibilities, then he loses the privilege of being able to play. We look forward to continuing to focus on our upcoming game Tuesday and our three-game road trip that follows.”
LSU, off to its best start in four seasons, looks to remain unbeaten when the Tigers (5-0) face Chattanooga on Tuesday at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. The Tigers have upcoming games at Boise State, UC Irvine and Marquette, their first three road games, beginning late next week.
Hickey started 31 of 33 games for LSU last year after being named Kentucky’s Mr. Basketball as a senior at Christian County High in Hopkinsville, Ky.
His fast start to 2012-13 has him leading the Southeastern Conference in steals with 4.4 per game and ranking second in the league with an average of 5.2 assists. He is LSU’s third-leading scorer at 10.2 points and has connected on 35.7 percent of his 28 shots from 3-point range.
Hickey’s mother, Monica Moore, said Friday she had no information on her son’s status beyond the school’s announcement.
“That’s all I know,” she said. “I talked to my son not too long ago and am waiting to hear back from him and his coach.”
Hickey expressed in a written statement that Friday’s suspension will be used as a learning experience.
“I know I have made mistakes and sometimes it takes mistakes in life to make you a better person,” Hickey said. “I’m not perfect and need to move forward and make better decisions. I know I have let my family down, my team down and LSU down. I will come out of this a much stronger individual. I pray to be back in my LSU uniform as soon as I can.”
Although a key cog in LSU’s early-season success, Hickey has been plagued by off-court setbacks. He was suspended for LSU’s exhibition game against Arkansas-Monticello, along with freshman wing Shane Hammink, for disciplinary reasons. He faced additional disciplinary punishment Nov. 24 when he was left out of the starting lineup for a game against Mississippi Valley State.