Dennis Felton's job is in jeopardy.
This is the latest depressing development in college basketball.
|It's pretty confusing to figure out what Georgia wants from Dennis Felton. (US Presswire)|
Put another way, an Ivy League institution seems willing to sacrifice integrity in the pursuit of victories while an SEC school considers removing a coach because he is unwilling to compromise himself despite the fact that he's working in a conference that has traditionally required it.
So yeah, the whole world is turned upside down. And the man who might land on his head is Felton.
If it happens it'll be unfortunate, not to mention further proof that administrators and fans who claim they want their programs run the "correct" way are more full of you-know-what than your average politician. But that is what they say, you know? That they want coaches who care about more than just winning and losing, coaches who hold student-athletes responsible for their actions on and off the court, coaches who stress the importance of academics.
Well, that's the very definition of Felton.
He dismissed Mike Mercer and Takais Brown before they even played a game this season, and those unfamiliar should know they were Georgia's top two scorers. To put this into perspective, consider where Arkansas would be without Sonny Weems and Patrick Beverly. Or where Mississippi State would be without Jamont Gordon and Charles Rhodes. Or where Vanderbilt would be without Shan Foster and A.J. Ogilvy.
The reality is that any of those teams would be struggling the same way Georgia is struggling, and if you don't think Felton realized he was killing his season when he removed Mercer and Brown you must think he's stupid.
But trust me, he's not stupid. He's just principled, perhaps to a fault.
Because though Felton thought dismissing his two best players might be in the best interest of the program, he damn sure knew it wouldn't be in the best interest of his win-loss record. But he did it anyway. Without hesitation. Because he promised he would not embarrass the school in any way when Georgia hired him to take over the program Jim Harrick left on probation. Which is part of what made Felton a solid candidate; his reputation as a stand-up guy despite him being in a profession where stand-up guys aren't as common as most would like to think.
So he dismissed his best two players.
And then his promising season turned into a losing season.