Coach says suspended Texas guard Kerwin Roach could return

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Despite three suspensions, the door is still open for Texas senior guard Kerwin Roach II to return this season.

The team’s leading scorer remains suspended “indefinitely” but coach Shaka Smart said Monday the decision whether to allow him to return will be up to Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte. Smart said it was unlikely Roach would be allowed back in time for Wednesday’s game at Baylor. Texas hosts Iowa State on Saturday as the Longhorns (15-12, 7-7) make a late push to finish at least .500 in the Big 12.

Roach was suspended for the opener of the 2016-2017 season and for this season’s opener and then again last week. Each time was described as a violation of team rules.

Even with the history of problems, Smart clearly wants Roach to get another chance to play.

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“He’s made a ton of progress. He’s made a lot of right decisions. It’s not a situation where he hasn’t grown,” Smart said. “With where he is in his career, it’s not a situation where we would say we are going to cast you aside. We want to see him as best he can finish, the best way he can.

The latest suspension “puts a dent in that. It doesn’t have to be the last chapter. I’d like for it to not be the last chapter for him,” Smart said.

Del Conte did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment. Del Conte is entering his second year at Texas and is due for an annual $200,000 raise from the school’s Board of Regents later this week.

Roach was still allowed to travel with the team last week to a game at Oklahoma. He was on the bench in street clothes for Texas’ 69-67 loss.

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Roach was averaging 15 points per game and has been a catalyst in some of Texas’ biggest wins, though Smart said that had nothing to do with the pending decision for Del Conte.

“I don’t think it brings more leeway. It brings more attention from (the media). The rules are the rules,” Smart said.