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Jim Boeheim, Syracuse Players React To Frank Howard Suspension News

Syracuse's Frank Howard goes up for a floater against Duke.

SYRACUSE, NY - FEBRUARY 23: Frank Howard #23 of the Syracuse Orange shoots the ball against the defense of Marques Bolden (L) of the Duke Blue Devils during the second half at the Carrier Dome on February 23, 2019 in Syracuse, New York. Duke defeated Syracuse 75-65. (Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images)

Given that Frank Howard made the trip with Syracuse to Salt Lake City, news of his indefinite suspension for the NCAA Tournament took everyone by surprise. That includes his teammates.

Howard had just been finding his game, after dealing with injuries early in the year. He was second team All-ACC Tournament, and posted a career high 28 points in the quarterfinal loss to Duke.

His emergence came without star guard Tyus Battle, who dealt with a similar sudden absence, though his was due to injury. The All-ACC shooting guard is expected back, and will likely have an even larger role with his backcourt-mate out.

Moments after the news came down, Syracuse players spoke to the media about the shocking news. They confirmed that they found out when the rest of us did.

Head coach Jim Boeheim is now speaking about the Frank Howard situation:

Howard had been averaging 8.9 points and 2.9 assists per game on the season, numbers down from his junior year. In the ACC Tournament, he scored 46 points in two games, shooting 50-percent from the field and three-point range.

In his absence, Battle will likely be the lead ball handler, while reserve guards Buddy Boeheim, coming off of a red hot ACC Tournament in his own right, and freshman point guard Jalen Carey should see expanded roles.

Syracuse faces Baylor on Thursday night in Salt Lake City. Tip-off is estimated for 9:57 p.m. ET.