Trey Zeigler’s DUI won’t help the Pittsburgh guard carve out bigger role

Already off to a bit of a slow start the first three weeks of the season, Pittsburgh guard Trey Zeigler added to his woes with an apparent poor decision off the court.

Zeigler, a highly touted transfer from Central Michigan, was stopped by Pittsburgh police on Sunday and charged with two misdemeanor counts of driving under the influence, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon suspended Zeigler indefinitely Monday.

"The incident involving Trey Zeigler is not only surprising, but incredibly disappointing," Dixon said in a statement. "Although I believe it was out of character for Trey, he has been immediately suspended until further notice. Trey has expressed his deep regret to me and understands and respects the importance of accountability for one's actions."

The suspension will only decrease the chances Zeigler can carve out a bigger role this season. The consensus former top 30 recruit has logged only 17 minutes per game so far off the bench at Pittsburgh, surprising considering the fanfare he received when he chose the Panthers and eventually received a waiver to play right away this season.

A prolific scorer who averaged 16.0 points and 6.1 rebounds per game as a sophomore at Central Michigan last season, Zeigler opted to transfer when the school fired his father, Ernie Zeigler, as head coach this past spring. Zeigler chose the Panthers over UCLA, Duke and others, a decision that appeared at the time to be crucial to Pittsburgh's chances of rebounding quickly from a rare down season last year.

What has prevented Zeigler from seeing more playing time early in the season is his lack of outside shooting or consistent defensive effort.

Zeigler has averaged 6.2 points per game off the bench despite limited minutes, but he has yet to sink a 3-pointer after shooting just 28.9 percent from behind the arc a year ago. Junior J.J. Moore's 44.4 percent 3-point shooting has earned him the starting nod over Zeigler, as has freshman James Robinson's ability to handle the ball and defend the perimeter.

Nonetheless, Zeigler can still be an important part of this year's Pittsburgh team even if he's merely providing instant offense off the bench. He's going to have to make smarter decisions off the court, however, and work his way back into Dixon's good graces.

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