Kansas University reserve junior center C.J. Giles rejoined the men's basketball team and practiced Friday night but won't be allowed to play in a game until second semester, coach Bill Self announced.
"Here's the bottom line: We are in the business to help young people," Self said. "We can certainly do more to help C.J. by him being here than by us putting him out. The ball is in his court to be able to do the right things. We've given him the opportunity to right his ship, and if he doesn't do that, then I guess that would mean being here doesn't mean that much to him."
Giles was not made available for comment, but the university released a statement attributed to him by the athletic department: "I apologize to my coaches and teammates for my actions. I understand why I have been suspended. I know I have to improve myself as a person - for my own good and for the good of the team."
Self said Giles was academically eligible to play this semester, but as punishment for "a pattern of irresponsibility" would not be allowed to play. The semester will end Dec. 15, and the first game after that is Dec. 19 against Winston-Salem State in Allen Fieldhouse.
Giles, 21, drew the ire of his coach Oct. 16 when he missed a morning workout. He did not practice after that until Friday night. Self said the day Giles' suspension was announced that the action was taken in part, but not solely, for academic reasons. A search of court records then revealed Giles was due in court for unpaid child support to Lawrence resident Laura Bender, mother of Jaiden Giles. His court case was continued until Jan. 8.
Reached Friday at her home, Bender said she had been assured the monthly child support payments she is due would be taken directly out of Giles' monthly stipend before the check was given to Giles.
"I'm not surprised he's back," Bender said. "I knew it would happen eventually. I think C.J. deserves to be happy. It's a lot to handle. I just hope he gets his academics and personal life in order."
Self initially made it sound as if Giles was a longshot to return to the team, but never completely closed the door on a return.
"There has been a pattern of irresponsibility that has followed him around, and in order for him to progress as a person and to help this program, he has to greatly improve," Self said. "... He's got to be responsible carrying out appointments, being on time, academic responsibilities, teammate responsibilities. There are a lot of things he needs to do."
Sasha Kaun, out with a partially torn patellar tendon in his right knee, isn't likely to be ready to play against defending national champion Florida until Nov. 25 in Las Vegas. Giles presence could have come in handy against Florida's tall, athletic front line.
"If it was all about wins and losses, after Sasha got hurt, C.J. would have been back immediately," Self said. "Guys have to be responsible for their actions. C.J. needs to be and hopefully he understands that. We're not looking to Florida as a definitive game. Obviously, our chances would be better if we had everybody participating."
The 6-foot-11 Giles came to KU from Seattle carrying the "potential" label that he still hasn't shed.
In 33 games last season, Giles averaged 6.2 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. Playing time will be more difficult to earn because of the addition of freshman sensation Darrell Arthur and the improvement of junior Darnell Jackson.
In announcing his decision, Self sounded like a coach more concerned with what the team can do for the person than what the player can do for the team.
"All the guys like C.J.," Self said. "C.J.'s never been a problem with a teammate or a coach. We never have faulted his effort. We have faulted that he's been irresponsible in multiple ways."