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North Dakota State brings back Dupree with conditions

FARGO -- It was a 15-minute phone call from Carlin Dupree to North Dakota State head men's basketball coach Dave Richman, with Dupree talking for about 13 of the minutes. He wanted back.A week earlier, Dupree told Richman he was quitting the team...

Carlin Dupree speaks with media Monday, Jan. 25, 2016, about his decision to return to the Bison basketball team.David Samson / The Forum
Carlin Dupree speaks with media Monday about his decision to return to the Bison basketball team. (FNS Photo by David Samson)

FARGO - It was a 15-minute phone call from Carlin Dupree to North Dakota State head men’s basketball coach Dave Richman, with Dupree talking for about 13 of the minutes. He wanted back.
A week earlier, Dupree told Richman he was quitting the team, a decision that for the ensuing several days started to render him lonelier by the day, Dupree said. So about 9 p.m. on a Thursday night, he called Richman’s cell phone and asked for another chance.
“I would just say it was heart to heart, man to man,” Dupree said. “A lot of the conversation was like a father-son talk.”
Richman bounced the thought off of several people within the program after a home win against South Dakota State on Jan. 16. Richman didn’t want the situation to be a distraction to the team, he said, so he asked his confidants to sleep on it for a night and to get back to him a day later, which was a week ago Sunday.
On Monday, Richman announced the program was taking Dupree back, although the junior guard was suspended indefinitely, and Richman said he doesn’t know exactly what that means as far as Dupree’s return.
“Is it two games? Two weeks? Rest of the semester? I don’t have a great answer for you,” he said. “But I do know it’s going to be based on what’s best for this culture.”
Dupree left the team in an apparent disagreement over his role, although on Monday he said there was more to it than just that. He was replaced in the starting lineup by freshman Khy Kabellis, but still was one of the team’s top players in terms of minutes played.
“It was a quick decision that I obviously regret and shouldn’t have done,” Dupree said. “I was so quick-tempered about certain things.”
Richman said if Dupree wasn’t happy with his role before, he really won’t be happy about it now having to practice but not play. Dupree countered by saying he was just happy to be back on the team.
Both player and coach say trust will have to be earned, not taken for granted.
“I’m not sure there’s a guy in our program I trusted more than Carlin Dupree up until last Sunday,” Richman said. “I told him this: I trust you, but it’s going to take some time before you’re fully trusted within this program.”

Dupree averaged 7.1 points and 2.8 rebounds, but is also considered a top-level defensive player in the Summit League. NDSU is in fifth place in the Summit at 4-3 and 14-7 overall. The Bison, however, went 3-1 without Dupree on the roster.
“I want to see how our team reacts. I want to see how Carlin reacts, but most important is that culture that we talk about all the time,” Richman said. “I want to send a strong message to Carlin Dupree. I want to send a strong message to the guys within our culture that quitting isn’t acceptable. When you become a father, you can’t quit on that. When you became an employee or an employer, you can’t quit on that.”

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