Posted on: September 21, 2011 3:31 pm
Edited on: September 21, 2011 3:49 pm

Quinnipiac duo arrested on assault charges

By Matt Norlander

There's been far too much of this in college basketball for far too long. It sounds pious, but can you disagree? Too many college athletes can't control their tempers and are winding up in cuffs because of it. And don't get me wrong: regular college-goers are just as bad. I had friends in college who threw knuckles once a month. (They are not my friends anymore.) Youth always has its pockets of violence.

Still, this is a terrible look for your program. Small-time Quinnipiac is the latest program to receive a black eye because of the bad behavior of its players. James Johnson, a senior guard, and sophomore Ike Azotam, were "charged early Sunday morning with assault and breach of peace following a fight on campus."

The two got into a brouhaha with some fellow students late Saturday/early Sunday and couldn't control themselves. The assault complaint came at 3:00 a.m. Sunday morning on Quinnipiac's campus, according to NBC Connecticut.
A Quinnipiac University student reported he tried to break up a fight when Ike Azotam, 20, struck him in the face, according to police. A second student attempting to break up the fight told officers he was punched in the face several times as well. Officers determined James Johnson, 21, was the person who allegedly punched the student, police said.

This awful behavior meant third-degree assault charges for the twosome. Additionally, a second-degree charge of breaching the peace was levied against them.

Johnson was a 16-points-per-game guy last season. Azotam is one of the key low-post players for a team that can vie for the Northeast title. Both were released on $5,000 bond. Their court date is Sept. 26. Regardless of the outcome, a suspension seems inevitable.

The university's response to the arrests, in full:

“The university is investigating the matter,” said Lynn Bushnell, vice president for public affairs. “The students involved have been fully cooperating with the Hamden police, campus security and student affairs. The investigation will follow the university’s normal judicial process.”

That process means, once the case clears through the legal system, school officials will then decide what to do with the students.

Posted on: September 20, 2011 4:59 pm
Edited on: September 20, 2011 5:00 pm

George Mason, UCLA backcourts get suspensions

By Matt Norlander

Didn't want to let Tuesday afternoon slip me by without getting on record here at the blog a couple of stories that deserve to be spread.

George Mason and UCLA have seen starting members of their basketball teams get in trouble with the law in the past few days. We'll start with Mason, which will most likely start the season without junior guard Andre Cornelius (right). He was busted for credit card fraud and larceny Friday. The team has indefinitely suspended him.

According to the university’s police department incident record, the 22-year-old Cornelius was taken to the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center and released on $1,500 bond.

“Cornelius has been summarily suspended from the team as a result of the charges filed against him,” the school said in a statement. “The suspension will be in effect until the legal and University judicial processes have been completed.”

Enter your pithy commentary about the plight of players here if you must, but there's never an excuse or reason good enough for that kind of petty crime. Cornelius was a starter in every game for the Patriots last season, with an effective field goal percentage of 53.7 (pretty good). Paul Hewitt, the first-year coach at Mason and former Georgia Tech head man, gets an early crack at discipline. How hard will he hit one of his best players?

He and the school well let the legal process play out until a decision is made, but this lack of judgment probably calls for a few games on the pine, I'd think. At least if Hewitt wants respect from his team in the early going.

As for UCLA, Ben Howland had some good news and bad news with Andersons on Monday. He couldn't be happier, I'm sure, that the Kyle Anderson's commitment Monday night came shortly after the school announced Jerime Anderson would be suspended two games for his involvement in laptop theft in late July.

The defined suspension comes after he was indefinitely suspended -- and in the offseason, what does that really mean? C'mon. -- by Howland soon after his arrest.

Anderson won't play in the team's exhibition on Nov. 6 against Cal State San Bernadino. He'll also be out for the first real game of the season, the Nov. 11 matchup against Loyola Marymount at home. From the AP:

Howland said Monday that Anderson has been "very remorseful" in admitting his mistake and accepting responsibility for his actions. Anderson pleaded guilty last week to charges of appropriation of lost property and trespass. His attorney, Jon Artz, says the plea agreement was based on evidence demonstrating Anderson's good conduct and moral character from community members.

Anderson must complete 300 hours' community service in a two-year period to have the plea of appropriation of lost property withdrawn. The misdemeanor charge of trespass would stand.

Heavy community service, certainly. A bad look for Anderson, who is a junior with decent defensive and passing skills. One real game isn't much a punishment. Given all that was levied against him, few could make a case against Howland if he wanted to sit Anderson for three or four games. But so few coaches actually have the courage to do that these days. We'll see if Hewitt bucks the trend soon enough.

Posted on: July 27, 2011 6:08 pm

UCLA suspends Jerime Anderson

By Matt Norlander

The UCLA Bruins have indefinitely suspended senior guard Jerime Anderson.

The announcment was made Wednesday afternoon on the heels of Anderson's arrest Tuesday night. What's certain is Anderson will be out for the team's opener, on Nov. 11, a home game against Loyola Marymount.

Here's the entirety of the school's statement, which details Anderson getting cuffed Tuesday night on campus:
UCLA men's basketball player Jerime Anderson has been suspended indefinitely from all team activities and at least the 2011-12 season-opener against Loyola Marymount (Nov. 11) following his arrest Tuesday (July 26) evening. Anderson, a senior point guard, was arrested on campus by University Police and was charged with suspicion of grand theft in connection with the theft of a laptop.

"This is a disappointing and unfortunate situation for Jerime," said head coach Ben Howland. "We have a high standard and code of conduct that our student-athletes are expected to follow. He knows that he has made a huge mistake and that he has not represented himself, our program or UCLA in a manner that is required." Anderson's status with the team will be re-evaluated as the legal process continues.
Another stolen-laptop case. What is it with college athletes and this affliction? Anderson, who averaged 5.1 points per game last season, is one of the most reliable 3-point shooters Howland has.

What's interesting to point out in this case is Howland's immediate reaction to the arrest. Unlike, say, Jim Boeheim, who has chosen to lay low while Fab Melo's legal battle drifts out over a domestic disturbance case. Some coaches choose to make decisions immediately. I give credit to Howland for going with this choice first and leaving almost every possibility for further punishment open. Not an easy -- or even necessary -- call to make right now. But Howland, who is on the recruiting trail as we speak, made the decision immediately.

Consider it a message from afar that was heard loud and clear by all of his players.

Photo: AP
Category: NCAAB
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