Vandy will be without Dai-Jon Parker's pressure defense to start the 2012-2013 season. - Mark Zerof-US PRESSWIRE
Sophomore guard Dai-Jon Parker has been suspended indefinitely from the Vanderbilt men's basketball team for a non-academic violation of team rules. The Commodores will turn to some untested freshmen to fill his absence in the lineup until he is reinstated.
Coach Kevin Stallings announced on Tuesday that former four-star recruit and projected starting shooting guard Dai-Jon Parker has been suspended by the team indefinitely. No specifics on the sophomore's punishment were revealed other than that he violated "non-academic team policy."
"Dai-Jon failed to uphold the high standard that we expect of a Vanderbilt basketball player and will be disciplined accordingly," said Stallings. The team also announced that they would not be commenting on the suspension during its duration.
The news is a blow to a rebuilding team that will now have to start its season without one of its most talented athletes. Parker was primed for a big season after John Jenkins's departure put the focus squarely on the sophomore from Alpharetta, Georgia. Parker, who was the highest rated recruit to come to Nashville since Jenkins before him, had been projected to be the team's starting shooting guard when the season opens next week.
True freshmen A.J. Astroth and Kevin Bright will likely take over Parker's minutes during his absence. Astroth is a lithe 6'6" guard who can stretch the floor with a smooth shooting stroke. Bright is a more well rounded player who has experience playing on Germany's under-18 national team. Both are capable of contributing right away, but the learning curve will be steep for either player.
There is no estimated timetable for Parker's return. Hopefully, he'll be able to serve his time and come back as a better player as a result. If not, the Commodores will have a big hole to fill when it comes to backcourt scoring and defense in the coming years.