Smart isn’t ruling out suspended guard Kerwin Roach’s return

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Longhorns senior guard Kerwin Roach’s season isn’t over, according to head coach Shaka Smart.

Roach, who was suspended for a violation of team rules last week for a third time while at Texas, was on the bench for the Longhorns loss at Oklahoma Saturday. Roach won’t play at Baylor Wednesday and may not travel with the team.

Texas has four remaining regular season games, the Big 12 Tournament and a potential postseason game left in the season.

Smart will have a say in the conversation on if Roach can return to the court, but ultimately the athletic department and Athletic Director Chris Del Conte will make the final decision.

The suspension of the Longhorn’s leading scorer is a big blow for a team hanging on the brink of the NCAA Tournament.

“It’s a tough lesson for some, but it’s a good lesson. The challenging thing for us is we’re in the middle of our season, in the stretch run of the regular season. Our team has to step forward and be the best version of ourselves without Snoop (Roach) on the court,” Smart said.

With Roach missing significant time, a frustrating trend is developing with Smart and his leading scorers.

The team’s season leader in points has missed significant portions of the season in three straight years. Guard Andrew Jones was diagnosed with leukemia early in the 2017-18 season. Tevin Mack was dismissed from the team for violating team rules during the 16-17 season.

When asked about the mindset of his group going into these final pivotal games, Smart is trying to make sure the players and staff stay focused on what’s ahead.

“It’s not honestly what you want to be wrestling with going into a big game or big week. You have to be a big boy and take whatever your reality is,” Smart said.

Smart’s full comments on Roach’s suspension can be seen in the video below.

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