Wednesday, January 11, 2012

No Excuse for Hitting Players, Jim

Although I was at the UConn-Rutgers game Saturday night, I didn't see Jim Calhoun's interaction with DeAndre Daniels during a late-game timeout. Too busy tweeting and writing a game story.

I hadn't even heard of the alleged incident until a few days later, and didn't see the video until this evening. After watching it, there is no doubt in my mind that Calhoun hit Daniels. There is also no doubt in my mind that it is not a fireable offense, in the vein of Bob Knight or Woody Hayes. Or, you could argue, past incidents by Calhoun, as detailed in this column by the Courant's Jeff Jacobs that needed to be written.

Two or three years ago, I saw Calhoun hit Stanley Robinson in the abdomen with both (open) hands, out near the middle of the floor after callling a timeout. Really whacked him hard. A collective gasp could be heard from the first 10 or so rows behind UConn's bench. Nothing was made of it by any writer -- myself included. Maybe I should have, maybe not. Just Jim being Jim, y'know?

But there's no room for that. I don't even believe there's room for Calhoun's in-your-face screaming at Ryan Boatright the other night. We laugh about it, tweet about it, and the players usually seem to be able to brush it off pretty quickly. But there's no need to embarass an 18-year-old kid like that before 15,000 people and on national TV. Why? Because he made you look bad, Jim?

Calhoun is a tremendous coach, even a bit underrated (you rarely hear his name mentioned in the same breath as Coach K, Adolph Rupp, Bob Knight and Dean Smith, even though he's got more national titles than Smith and as many as Knight). Perhaps no one in the history of the sport has done a better job at building a program from nothing than Calhoun.

But there's no room for making physical contact with kids, no matter how innocuous it may seem.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

David: You are crossing the line when you unequivocally cocnlude that Calhoun "hit" a player. Making contact, regardless of whether his fist was open or closed, is not the same as actually "hitting" a player. Daniels did not even flinch when the alleged contact was made. Wouldn't Daniels at least flinch if he was actually "hit"? You are a great writer and better than that.

January 11, 2012 at 11:59 PM 
Blogger Kool Mo-C said...

Dave, I agree with you that there's absolutely no excuse for hitting a player. However, I'm not sure that's what happened here. Daniels didn't even miss a beat chewing his gum.

To me the the Boatright outburst or Stanley Robinson incident you described are more unsettling. Im not echoing the first poster because I don't believe there's anything "irresponsible" about it (Jacob's bringing up the Okwandu iininternet rumor might be....)

January 12, 2012 at 8:51 PM 
Blogger Kool Mo-C said...

Sorry that should read "I respect your opinion and don't feel that there's anything 'irres"irresponsible" about it." My phone is mangling my comments pretty bad

January 12, 2012 at 8:53 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Calhoun should punch Oriakhi in the face

January 12, 2012 at 10:16 PM 

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