The biggest basketball clash of this elongated Thanksgiving weekend didn't happen between two teams or even on the court. It was at a reception in the Bahamas and went down when Tim Floyd and Andy Enfield exchanged heated words on Wednesday night.
Following UTEP's 78-70 win over Tennessee Wednesday night, Floyd had his first chance to meet with the media following the reported dust-up. He explained himself -- and did not hold back from verbally going after Enfield again.
This is his quote, from Ben Frederickson of the Knoxville News Sentinel. It's long, but deserves a full block of text.
“I felt like there was some tampering going on with our McDonald's All-American, as former. Sure enough three months later he has USC on his Facebook page, backed out of his Letter of Intent. I called and we discussed it in a very serious vein. I said not to turn him in and they wouldn't take him. But we didn't end up with him, and that was a lick. And in addition to that I damn sure didn't appreciate the comments he made last week publicly about the city of El Paso, Texas, where my grandparents were born and raised, where my father was born and raised and played at Texas Western, where I've lived 22 years in my life. It's a fabulous city. My reaction yesterday was more about the city of El Paso than the previous part. I'll just leave it at that. Beyond that I'm not going to have any more comments down the road. But we're not going to sit back and just take it in shorts. We're not going to do it. We're not going to do it. We've done it enough. His comments in that damn magazine were totally inappropriate. Totally inappropriate. So that's all I've got to say, alright? And as far as him saying he was just trying to apologize yesterday? It would have been really nice if he apologized about three weeks ago, when that magazine article came out. Call me and try to do it then. His timing wasn't very good. It was too late.”
Floyd's reference to El Paso and anger therein stems from a shot Enfield took at Floyd in a recent Men's Journal piece.
You can understand why Floyd was so burned up over Enfield's words, which came as a bit of a shock, as they were so piercing and outside of what we usually hear coaches say on the record. (And by the way, college basketball has many coaches who will speak freely and negatively about other coaches -- off the record -- so to hear Enfield speak out of school was certainly jarring.)
By nature of UTEP's win over Tennessee, it ensures that USC and UTEP will not face each other in the Battle 4 Atlantis, as Enfield's Trojans fell on Thursday 94-79.