SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Former starting center Nick Evans ended a rocky 27 days as a member of the 2009-2010 Southern Illinois University men's basketball team Tuesday.
Already suspended indefinitely for breaking an unspecified team rule last week, Evans, 21, left the team Tuesday, according to a release from the school. Evans was scheduled to serve the second game of his indefinite suspension today against Missouri State.
He did not make the trip to Northern Iowa on Friday and was not expected to make the trip with the team Tuesday to Springfield, Mo.
Evans did not return messages left on his cell phone Tuesday. A phone number for his mother, Regina, who graduated from SIU last year, was not listed in the student directory or a local phone book. SIU coach Chris Lowery also did not return a message left on his cell phone Tuesday. The team was delayed coming to Springfield because a problem with a de-icing machine at Williamson County Airport in Marion.
Evans told The Southern on Sunday he had no intentions of leaving the team, despite his indefinite suspension. He declined to say what his infraction was.
Evans started the first 15 games of the season for the Salukis (13-10, 5-8 Missouri Valley Conference) before losing minutes to freshman center Gene Teague recently. Since he drew a technical foul and was ejected from SIU's game Jan. 13 at Creighton, Evans played more than seven minutes only once in his last six games. The 6-foot-11, 245-pound redshirt sophomore averaged 5.4 points and 3.1 rebounds in an average of 15.7 minutes per game this season.
Evans, a Carbondale Community High School graduate who grew up near Bridgeport before moving to Carbondale as a senior, set numerous career highs this season with the Salukis. Evans had a career-high 15 points Dec. 9 at Southeast Missouri State and grabbed a career-high eight rebounds against Tennessee-Martin on Nov. 14. He played a career-high 26 minutes against San Diego during the Las Vegas Holiday Hoops Classic on Dec. 19.
The move leaves SIU with three available scholarships for the 2010-2011 season. The Salukis lose senior Tony Freeman but could return 10 scholarship players and three walk-ons this October.
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