Pittsburgh forward Gilbert Brown has been suspended for this first 11 games of the 2009-2010 season as a result of poor academics.
The Panthers are already poised for a bit of a rebuilding season as they lost Levance Fields, Sam Young, and DeJuan Blair, three of the best players in the history of the program.
Now, they are losing Brown, a redshirt junior who is the team's most experienced player. He was expected to start at small forward and carry a much larger load for Jamie Dixon. Brown averaged 6.5 ppg as a freshman and 5.4 ppg last season.
While this will obviously be a problem for the Panthers, it is not going to be as big of an issue as some people are making it out to be. Ashton Gibbs seems poised for a breakout sophomore season. Brad Wanamaker and Jermaine Dixon are quality role playing guards. 6'9" freshman Dante Taylor is as good as any freshman that Jamie Dixon has brought into the program.
Brown's absence will leave a void on the wing, but it should allow for some of Pitt's inexperienced players to have a chance t0 get some valuable playing time. The Panthers have six freshman, one seldom used sophomore, and Chase Adams (a senior transfer from Centenary) on their roster this season.
Add to that the fact that the Panthers have a weak early season schedule, and losing Gilbert Brown for the first semester will not kill the chances of Pitt making their ninth straight tournament.