When Syracuse suits up to face Baylor in their NCAA opener Thursday, Frank Howard won’t be there.
According to a University statement, Howard will not play in the NCAA Tournament for “an indefinite period of time due to a violation of athletic department policy.”
The University did not specify what that violation was.
Jim Boeheim met the media moments after the release on Thursday and offered very little additional information. He would not even answer a question about whether Howard had made the trip to Salt Lake City, despite the program twitter feed posting pictures of Howard getting off the plane the previous day.
Boeheim only wanted to focus on Thursday’s game. Should SU advance, he gave no indication either way if Howard would be available for Saturday’s second round game.
Howard is averaging just nine points a game this season, but is coming off his best two back to back performances.
He scored a career-high 28 points against Duke in the ACC Tournament and dropped 18 points in the previous game, a win over Pittsburgh.
Syracuse has played without Howard this season. He missed the first four games dealing with an injury.
The Orange were discussing Howard’s absence the same way they treated Tyus Battle being out the week before.
“We can’t really do anything about it,” Elijah Hughes said. “Everybody has to pick to up a little bit, and that’s what we are going to try to do.”
“Obviously very difficult to make that change now,” Boeheim said. “Fortunately, Tyus has played the point quite a bit this year, even when Frank came back (from injury).”
“We’ve played without players before. Foul trouble, you have to play without players. Injuries, you have to play without players,” Battle said. “If we play our game, we’ll be fine.”
The Orange tip with Baylor around 10pm Eastern on Thursday.