Missouri coach Frank Haith announced Friday that senior guard Michael Dixon Jr. and freshman guard Dominique Bull have been suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules.
Haith refused to place a timeline on how long both players will be out, but he did confirm that both will miss MU’s exhibition opener at 7 p.m. Monday against Northwest Missouri State.
“The time frame will also depend on the player and their response to adversity,” said Haith, who added that the suspensions are not related to a NCAA or legal matter. “It’s more about the everyday choices we make and the cumulative impact it has on the ability to be good stewards on the Mizzou brand.”
Haith added that Dixon, a projected starter, has not been participating in practice recently in order to work on academics. Haith said his decision to suspend both has been in the works for “a couple weeks.”
“It also creates a real opportunity for personal growth,” Haith said. “Mike has had some time off to work on some academic stuff, and he has done a nice job, he’s made some strides in that area. I’m really proud of how well he’s done so far, and that’s why we’re going to have him back at practice starting next week.”
While Bull, a shooting guard, is a possible redshirt candidate, Dixon is expected to team up with star junior point guard Phil Pressey to form one of the best backcourts in the Southeastern Conference. Dixon, a graduate of Lee’s Summit West, averaged 15.3 points per game last season, when he was chosen Big 12 sixth man of the year. He was also selected to the preseason all-SEC second team this week.
“I know when you suspend guys, that’s going to make major headlines,” Haith said. “But within our team, in terms of our guys working, it hasn’t been negative. Our guards are getting a lot of reps. It’s been good for those guys to get the reps they need to get, and we do have some reps.”
In Dixon’s absence, senior Keion Bell, a transfer from Pepperdine, and defensive-minded freshman Negus Webster-Chan stand to earn additional minutes. Dixon was also expected to back up Pressey at point guard, but it appears Bell will handle the job in his absence.
“Most of the time in practice … Keion is more off the ball,” senior forward Laurence Bowers said. “But there are times when coach puts Keion on the ball and he does a great job.”
Bowers was one of several teammates to voice support for Dixon, who Haith said has handled the suspension well.
“He knows that, I’ve told him that,” Haith said. “This is a learning experience for him.”