Is Notre Dame's second ACC campaign about to hit the skids again in January due to player discipline?
Zach Auguste, the Irish's bouncy 6-foot-10 starting junior center and only reliable big man on the roster, will miss Wednesday's game at Georgia Tech as he deals with an academic issue on campus, coach Mike Brey confirmed in a text message to SI.com. Notre Dame has said Auguste is still enrolled in school, and Brey said Auguste is not suspended.
Sources told SI.com early Wednesday morning that Auguste was out of the lineup for what were considered disciplinary reasons. Still, there is no clear timetable yet for Auguste's return to the lineup. A television report surfaced late Tuesday indicating that Auguste, the team's No. 2 scorer (14.3 points per game) and rebounder (6.4 boards per game), would miss the rest of the season. Brey's assertion that there is currently no suspension in play seems to undercut that, but the Irish coach is expected to address Auguste's situation after the game against the Yellow Jackets.
It could be the second straight season undermined by academic discipline. Star guard Jerian Grant was suspended for the spring semester last season for academic reasons and Notre Dame plunged to a 6-12 finish in its first ACC season. With Grant back in the fold and players like Auguste and guard Demetrius Jackson having breakthrough seasons, the Irish have risen to 15-2 overall and No. 12 in the latest Associated Press poll. An 11-game winning streak ended against No. 2 Virginia last weekend.
Should Auguste be out for an extended period, it would be a huge blow to Notre Dame, which would be left with 6-9 reserve Austin Burgett -- who is more a stretch power forward than a post presence -- and untested freshman Martinas Geben as the only available big-man options.