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USATSI

Virginia Tech starting sophomore guard Tyrece Radford has been suspended indefinitely by the program for “not upholding the high standards Virginia Tech has for its students and athletes,” the program announced Monday. He will not be eligible to participate in team activities effective immediately, striking a significant blow to a Hokies team that’s squarely in the ACC title hunt and ranked No. 20 in this week’s AP Top 25 rankings.

Radford joined the Virginia Tech program as the least-heralded of its four-player 2018 recruiting class, but he’s already performed well above his status as an unranked high school recruit. Last season he was the team’s second-leading scorer and leading rebounder, and this season he’s the second-leading scorer with 11.1 ppg and second-leading rebounder with 6.3 rpg. He also leads the team in minutes played.

Radford’s versatility as a tenacious rebounder, scorer and all-around weapon has given Virginia Tech coach Mike Young roster flexibility to deploy his guard-heavy lineups in ways that have tripped up other teams. He’s a menace on and off the ball on both ends, giving teams another talent to account for in a backcourt with three guards averaging double figures in scoring.

“He’s just a hard guy to guard,” Boston College coach Jim Christian said of Radford, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch last week, ahead of a meeting between the Eagles and Virginia Tech that was ultimately postponed. “He can take the ball to the basket, get you in foul trouble. He can shoot the ball from 3. He’s unbelievably good in transition. I always think that guys who are hard guards like that, they’re really good when you have good players around them because now you’ve only got so much things you can take away.”

The Hokies have plenty of talent at the guard position between Jalen Cone, Wabissa Bede, Nahiem Alleyne, Cartier Diarra and Hunter Cattoor. But Radford’s suspension, however long it lasts, rips away a significant contributor whose absence will be felt.