As suspension ends, Ja’Quan Newton vows ‘to never be a distraction again’

Ja'Quan Newton (Getty Images)

Ja’Quan Newton (Getty Images)

Sitting at home watching Miami’s big win at VirginiaJa’Quan Newton reflected on his situation — and had a few things to say.

Newton, the Hurricanes’ junior point guard, issued an apology for what he called “a huge mistake” as he sat for the third and final game of his suspension.

Newton posted the message on his Twitter account, which is private but accessible by 7,155 followers.

“I want to apologize to my teammates, coaches and most importantly the fans of the University of Miami,” wrote Newton, who is eligible to return to the lineup Saturday against No. 11 Duke (4 p.m., CBS).

“I made a huge mistake and hope that everyone will forgive me. I’m so happy for my brothers being able to pull off a huge road win tonight in my absence and going 3-0 throughout my suspension.

“Sitting here alone watching the game really hit me tonight and I’m totally disappointed in myself. I promise from this day forward to work harder than I ever did and to never be a distraction again.”

Newton was suspended for the final three games of last year under similar circumstances. After returning, he made similar comments.

Coach Jim Larranaga addressed Newton’s most recent suspension following the first game he sat, a 70-61 win over Georgia Tech last Wednesday.

“My job as a coach is to mentor these young men, try to set the right example and send the right messages to them,” Larranaga said. “For the most part they listen. But we can’t be with them 100 percent of the time. They’ve got to learn to make good decisions when I’m not looking over their shoulder. If a guy doesn’t make the right decision, we need to send a message to him that that’s not acceptable in our program. Hopefully, the message is heard loud and clear.

“But they’re kids. They make mistakes.”

Elected one of three captains this year, Newton started all 24 games before his suspension and was second in scoring (15.0 points). However, he struggled to protect the ball, dishing out 87 assists to 84 turnovers.

In his absence, freshman Bruce Brown started at the point and averaged 10.3 points, 3.3 assists, 3.3 turnovers and hit 15-of-16 free throws, all while playing 37 minutes a night.

Larranaga said before Monday’s game that Brown, in his first college season and recently dealing with tonsillitis, has been “running on a half-tank.” He was a key figure in Miami’s overtime win at Virginia on Monday, scoring 14 points and making clutch shots.

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