“Jordan has exhibited some behavior recently that is unacceptable and a distraction to the team,’’ coach Bruce Pearl said in a statement released late Saturday night. “We’ll deal with this issue in-house, and my hope is that Jordan will use this as a learning and maturation opportunity.’’
A source on the team, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they lack the authorization to speak publicly on the specifics of the matter, said McRae’s suspension stemmed from a verbal altercation with a teammate on the team bus in Hartford.
McRae practiced with the team at the University of Hartford on Friday, but stayed at the team hotel during the Vols’ 72-61 loss to No. 8 Connecticut on Saturday at the XL Center.
“Jordan has coaches and teammates who all love and support him,’’ Pearl’s statement said. “We all want him to be an important member of the Tennessee basketball family. But that is a privilege, and he knows what’s expected of him.’’
A freshman from Midway, Ga., McRae played three minutes in Tennessee’s 59-57 win at Georgia on Tuesday after not getting playing time in the three previous contests.
McRae is an explosive 6-foot-6 leaper who figures prominently in the Vols’ future plans, as next season UT is expected to get back to pressing and playing 94 feet, as they did Pearl’s first four years as coach.
McRae has played in nine of the team’s 19 games this season.