|Thursday, December 27
Stone dismissed; Blevins out 4-6 weeks
ESPN.com news services
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Kentucky center Marvin Stone was kicked off the team Thursday after not returning from the holiday break.
The 6-foot-10 junior is the first player dismissed in coach Tubby Smith's five seasons.
"Marvin has been dealing with some issues outside of basketball and we just want to wish him the best in whatever he decides to do," Smith said. "We're going to be releasing him and he'll be moving on. With that comes opportunities for other players. We'll have to step up on our front line to make up for his departure."
Kentucky (No. 8 ESPN/USA Today, No. 6 AP) plays Louisville on Saturday.
Stone went home to Huntsville, Ala., and missed two practices before Smith spoke with him Wednesday night.
Stone, who arrived at Kentucky as a McDonald's All-American, averaged 5.3 points and 4.2 rebounds in 75 games with the Wildcats, including 11 starts.
He had a chance to be the Wildcats' primary big man this season after sophomore center Jason Parker went out with a knee injury. But Stone lost the starting role after two games and hasn't played more than 18 minutes in any game since.
If Stone transfers to another school, he would have to sit out a year and then would have 1½ years of eligibility remaining.
Kentucky's backcourt also took a hit Thursday when senior point guard J.P. Blevins was lost 4-6 weeks after the co-captain underwent successful surgery to repair a fractured bone in his right wrist. Blevins had a screw inserted into the bone. Blevins, who played just five minutes against Indiana on Saturday, was averaging 2.7 points and 1.4 assists this season.
"This is a terrible injury for J.P.," Smith said. "There's no one on this team that's worked as hard as he did getting ready for the season, and now he's been dealt a second significant injury.
"At this point, we just hope he can recover quickly because we'll need his help for our stretch run."
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.