Originally created 01/26/99

Clemson's Shyatt extends suspensions through season



CLEMSON, S.C. -- Clemson's Vincent Whitt and Johnny Miller, suspended last week for violating team policy, saw their seasons ended Monday by Tigers coach Larry Shyatt.

Shyatt said the two former starters would not play again this year.

He first disciplined them last Wednesday in Clemson's 82-60 loss to Duke and extended the suspension through Sunday's 81-79 overtime defeat against Maryland.

The coach met with the players Monday afternoon before announcing his decision.

Whitt, a junior, will practice with the team and be eligible for a spot next year. Sunday afternoon, he was running conditioning drills on the hill beside Littlejohn Coliseum.

The college career of Miller, a senior who transferred from Temple three years ago, is over. "He will be focusing his attention towards his academics and his family, as his life after college basketball has begun," Shyatt said.

Shyatt said Whitt will also concentrate on "academics and his overall future the remainder of this season."

Whitt and Miller did not immediately return phone messages left at their dorm rooms.

Shyatt has kept quiet about Whitt and Miller's transgression. But Clemson sources have said it did not involve criminal activity.

On Friday, Shyatt said he wasn't aware "of any criminal laws they have violated."

Whitt was Clemson's third-leading scorer with a 7.1 average. His best game this year was 18 points against North Carolina Asheville.

Miller started Clemson's first 18 games, averaging 5.9 points and 4.3 assists. But he has had more than his share of struggles.

He has had three knee surgeries in a 10-month stretch during 1997 and 1998 and has had to continually return to his hometown of Coatesville, Pa., to help his wife, Khalina, who suffers from lupus and needs regular kidney dialysis treatment.

Miller, who sat out the 1996-97 Clemson season after transferring, thought about quitting this past summer when the pressures got too much. But he said his wife forced him to return for his final year.

Last month, Shyatt talked of the pride he felt for Miller and the way he dealt with his adversity.

"Some of the hard knocks he's had physically and emotionally, especially with his family, mean so much more than basketball," Shyatt said then.

School spokesman Tim Bourret said Miller would remain on campus and could graduate this summer.

The Tigers have lost seven of their past eight games and are 1-6 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Without Whitt and Miller, they will now turn to forward Andrius Jurkunas and freshman guard Will Solomon.

Jurkunas has averaged 12 points the past three games, including 18 in the near upset of Maryland. Solomon had a career-high 19 points against Duke and seven assists against Maryland.

"We will certainly miss Johnny and Vincent. This will hurt our depth, and players are going to have step up and play more minutes," Jurkunas said. "The last two games, the freshmen have certainly done this."

Clemson travels to Georgia Tech on Thursday night, then has a week off before returning home to play North Carolina.