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January 9, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

The Morning Dish – Friday, January 10th, 2003

by Jon Gonzalez

Have you heard the one about the coach who brought a gun into the gym after one of his assistants hit him with a bag that contained a steel chain? Well, that coach quit his job on Thursday. Oh, and about the guy with the bag of chains, he’s the new head coach.

Tennessee State head coach Nolan Richardson III, son of former Arkansas head man Nolan Richardson, resigned as men’s basketball coach Thursday, two weeks after he and assistant coach (and now interim head coach) Hosea Lewis were involved in an altercation.

The infamous altercation occurred on Christmas night when Lewis and Richardson were at odds over the time of the night’s practice in which only four players showed up. During the argument, Lewis picked up his gym bag, which contained a chain, and struck Richardson with the bag. Richardson then bolted for his car and grabbed an unloaded gun and a crowbar. Richardson returned to the Gentry Center, the school’s gym, and asked assistant Christopher Graves where Lewis was because he quote, “had something for him.” He had something, alright.

On December 26, Richardson was suspended indefinitely, but did not have criminal charges brought against him. Lewis was named interim coach upon Richardson’s suspension.

First of all, four players showing up to practice? If I were coach of a program where only four players showed up to a practice, I would have a gun in my car, too. But in all seriousness, what kind of program was Richardson running at Tennessee State? He’s packing heat, the assistant coach has chains in his bag and on top of all that, the team was 23-41 after Richardson took over in April of 2000. Tennessee State is currently on a four game skid under Lewis, and sits at 2-9.

To say that Tennessee State is a program embroiled in controversy would be an understatement. Why they didn’t fire Richardson after the incident is beyond anyone? Furthermore, it is a felony to bring a weapon onto school property, but the school also declined to press charges. And the new hire. Isn’t he the one who had a metal chain in his bag? Why does he get the job? Tennessee State is definitely in need of some cleaning and gutting.

Of Richardson’s actions and resignation, Tennessee State president James A. Hefner (no relation to Hugh) said: “It’s abominable. It doesn’t make sense. We don’t tolerate it. That’s why he was suspended, and that’s why I have accepted his resignation.”

Hefner accepted Richardson’s resignation. In all honesty, Hefner should have been the one who gave Richardson his termination.

Side Dishes

Mizzou Lands Conley: As reported by Hoopville’s own Jed Tai, VMI’s Jason Conley has left the basketball team and has transferred to Missouri. Conley asked VMI to release him and started classes at Missouri on Wednesday. The decision will allow Conley to suit up for the Tigers in mid December of this year. He will have at most 1-1/2 years of eligibility if he graduates in four years. The move also eliminates any reason for anyone to give VMI basketball the slightest amount of attention. Conley led Division I in scoring last year and was leading the Keydets in scoring this year until he suffered a foot injury.

Bynum To OK State: Arizona back-up point guard Will Bynum has announced that he will transfer to Oklahoma State and will enroll in classes in time for the spring semester. Bynum will be eligible to play in mid December of this year and will have three semesters of eligibility. Bynum chose OSU so that he could play alongside friend and Cowboy guard Tony Allen.

Pay Up: Former Texas-El Paso basketball coach Jason Rabedeaux is going to get his money. Rabedeaux, who resigned on October 21 for personal reasons, will receive $124,500 from his former employers. He was scheduled to receive a base salary of $145,000 over five seasons, which would have totaled $725,000, before he stepped down.

No.10 Oregon at California: The Ducks came into Haas Pavillion and were upset by the Cal Golden Bears, 88-72. It was Cal’s (9-2; 2-0) third straight victory and second Pac Ten win. The Bears were led by Amit Tamir, Joe Shipp and Brian Wethers, who scored 25, 22 and 16 points, respectively. Oregon (10-3; 1-2) was paced by Luke Jackson, who scored 17 points.

Ohio State at No.18 Michigan State: In the Big Ten opener for both schools, Michigan State turned back Ohio State 66-55. Alan Anderson scored a game-high 18 points and Maurice Ager added 15 points for the victorious Spartans (9-4; 1-0). MSU began the game hitting its first 26 free-throws. Ohio State (7-5; 0-1) was led by Brent Darby, who tallied 16 points.

Washington State at No. 2 Arizona: The Wildcats proved to be too much for the Cougars, as Arizona out muscled Washington State 82-69. Despite Marcus Moore’s game-high 35 points, Washington State (5-7; 0-3) could not do much else to stop Arizona (10-1; 3-0). Jason Gardner led the Wildcats with 19 points. The game marked Luke Walton’s first game back since his injury.

Tonight’s Menu

• SMU at Hawai’i, 12:05 a.m.: For all of you night-owls – Eastern time-zone night owls, that is – a wild WAC showdown, Hawaiian style. If the Warriors plan on getting back to the big dance, they will have to win conference games like this one against SMU. At stake for the 5-6 Mustangs is a chance to get back to .500.

• Niagara at Manhattan, 7:00 p.m., Canisius at Marist, 7:30 p.m., Iona at Siena, 8:00 p.m.: New Yorkers, consider yourselves warned. Three big-time MAAC match-ups, and they all tip-off within one hour of each other. The big apple will never be the same.

That’s it people. Enjoy yourselves and please refrain from bringing handguns into basketball gyms. Later.

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