Virginia Tech sophomore forward Deron Washington has been suspended by athletics director Jim Weaver for the Wake Forest game as a result of his role in an incident with Duke’s Lee Melchionni on Thursday night. Washington was ejected from the game for what was deemed by officials as a “combative act.” He was caught on camera kicking Melchionni in the face as both players lay on the floor under the basket.
Following the game, Washington and Tech head coach Seth Greenberg went to the Duke locker room to apologize. Washington and Melchionni shook hands and Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski commented after the game that everything was forgiven.
ACC rules do not require that Washington be suspended. Players that are ejected for fighting must be suspended for one game, but Washington was ejected for a “combative act.” This will be the first game that Deron Washington will miss during his college career. He has started every game as a freshman and sophomore up to this point.
This suspension couldn’t have come at a worse time. The Hokies were already going to be without junior center Coleman Collins for Saturday’s game. Collins has returned home to Georgia to be with his father, who is dying of lung cancer. The elder Collins is not expected to live past the weekend. When Collins will return to the team remains unknown.
With the absence of Collins and Washington, an already thin Virginia Tech frontcourt got even thinner. Freshman center Cheick Diakite and junior forward Chris Tucker are the only other inside players who are definitely available to play on Saturday. Shawn Harris, who was recently moved to the frontcourt from shooting guard, may not be available. He missed the Duke game on Thursday to attend the funeral of his grandmother.