Kansas coach Bill Self suspended junior guard Brannen Greene for six games on Friday, a punishment that stemmed, in part, from an incident that occurred during Kansas’ 79-73 loss to Michigan State at the Champions Classic.
Greene’s father, Jeffrey, told The Star on Friday that his son was involved in a contentious and prolonged argument over playing time in the moments after the game — a conversation that would also come to include Greene’s parents, Jeffrey and Lori Greene, who had traveled to Chicago for the game.
When contacted on Friday, Self said he did not want to discuss the specific reasons for the suspension and what occurred with Greene, but he confirmed that the lengthy punishment was not the result of any off-court legal trouble or a violation of a specific team rule. In a news release announcing the suspension on Friday morning, Self said Greene would miss six games because of “conduct detrimental to the team.”
The suspension will begin Monday, when the Jayhawks open the Maui Invitational against Chaminade. Greene did not make the trip with the team on Friday.
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Greene, a junior wing who appeared poised for a more substantial role this season, finished with 18 points on 6-of-6 shooting, including 5 of 5 from three-point range, in the Jayhawks’ season opening victory over Northern Colorado at Allen Fieldhouse. But he played only 9 minutes without attempting a three-pointer in Kansas’ loss to Michigan State on Tuesday, a game in which the Jayhawks let an 11-point lead melt away in the final 9 minutes.
According to Jeffrey Greene, his son argued for more playing time in the latter stages of the second half. The conversation continued in the coaches’ locker room after the game, and Self sent assistant coach Jerrance Howard to bring Jeffrey and Lori to the locker room.
“He summoned us down to the locker room,” Jeffrey Greene said, “and we went down to the coaches’ locker room, and we listened to the issues. And it had all to do with the game.”
Jeffrey Greene said he regretted being present for the incident, adding that he didn’t want to divulge the specifics of what was said.
“We shouldn’t have borne witness to that,” Jeffrey Greene said. “We just shouldn’t have.”
Jeffrey Greene added: “We were told there was going to be a suspension the very next morning. But I was only told that it would be anywhere from one to six games and that I would be notified later that day.”
This is not the first time Brannen Greene has faced disciplinary action during his KU career. He was also suspended one game last season — the Big 12 finale at Oklahoma — for what Self termed as, simply, “irresponsibility.”
Jeffrey Greene confirmed that past issues may have contributed to the length of the suspension, saying his son has had previous run-ins with his coach. But he was partially motivated to discuss Tuesday’s incident after the news of Greene’s suspension ignited a wave of rumors on social media and message boards, including one that Greene had been suspended for a positive drug test.
“We had family across country, agonizing over that this morning when that started to get some legs,” Jeffrey Greene said. “It couldn’t have been further from the truth.”
In the hour after the suspension was announced, Brannen Greene posted the following from his Twitter account: “Don’t talk unless you know. I’m just trying to play basketball.” He later deleted the tweet.
Greene did not make the trip to Maui as a result of the suspension. Freshman Cheick Diallo did make the trip after receiving a waiver from the NCAA to travel but is still awaiting an eligibility decision.
The suspension will sideline Greene for three games in Maui, as well as three home games in early December. He will be eligible to return when the Jayhawks face Oregon State at the Sprint Center on Dec. 12. A 6-foot-7 junior, Greene averaged 5.7 points while playing 12 minutes per game last season. At times, Self has called Greene one of the best shooters he has ever has coached. But the Jayhawks will go without Greene for the next three weeks, leaning on sophomore Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk off the bench.
“In hindsight,” Jeffrey Greene said, “he should have kept his mouth shut. He should have kept his mouth shut and got ready for the next game. Because if he would have kept his mouth shut and gotten ready for the next game, he would be playing in Maui.
“The coach is always right.”