I know many of you have been waiting for me to start answering questions in our weekly Q&A and I apologize for not getting to them yet (I'm hoping to at around 4 p.m.), but this Eddie Rios news has been keeping me busy this afternoon.
If you don't know by now, Eddie Rios was suspended indefinitely by coach Frank Haith for the second time this season Monday and now it looks very likely his days as a Hurricane are over. Haith went into details Tuesday, basically telling reporters he wanted his backup point guard to see team doctors. Instead, Haith said there was a lack of a communication on Rios' part with his coaches as he stayed home in bed battling a stomach virus. I caught Haith in the hallway after his press conference and he told me he was disappointed because he really wanted things to work out with the former Miami High guard, who started the first four games of the season for him with regular starter and senior Lance Hurdle out.
"We really like Eddie," Haith said. "But he can't be doing what he did. We needed him at Boston College. We wanted him to see our doctors, get help, get healthy. I've got a team playing gritty, trying to win in a tough ACC. We can't afford to have those distractions that type of attitude at a time like this."
The problem is losing Rios is going to hurt Miami this season and moving forward. While Haith has a solid point guard in waiting in Villanova transfer Malcolm Grant (he's sitting out per NCAA transfer rules) for the future, Rios' presence at the very least provided depth for this team. Haith said Tuesday Rios' suspension will lead to more minutes for Lance Hurdle and Jack McClinton -- the team's leading scorer -- at the point. But the loss of Rios means Miami doesn't really have another go-to ballhandler after that.
The scenario already played out last Saturday and the Hurricanes were able to escape with a 77-71 win at Boston College. But earlier this year, when Rios was suspended for Ohio State and McClinton was ejected, the Hurricanes set a season-high for turnovers with just Hurdle available. Haith said Tuesday he could play freshman swingman De'Quan Jones more in a ballhandling type role and already has gone with James Dews and Brian Asbury more when McClinton and Hurdle have been out. But it's not a longterm solution. It looks more like a longterm problem.