Not Part Of This Crew

By Josh Herwitt - September 26, 2007

It's another sad day for Bruce Pearl.

A little more than a week after calling it quits on his 25-year-old marriage, the Tennessee coach is coming to grips with the fact that he's losing Duke Crews for at least part of the upcoming season.

For Pearl, it was a tough blow to take when he announced late Wednesday that the 6-foot-7 forward, who started 18 games as a freshman in 2006-07, has been suspended indefinitely for violating team rules.

"Duke is a very intelligent student-athlete but has made some poor decisions," Pearl said. "It is in his, as well as the team's, best interest that he is suspended at this time."

Pearl didn't go into further detail as to what violation was committed by Crews, who averaged 8.4 points and 5.1 rebounds for the Volunteers last season, but the Hampton, Va. native did lead the team in blocked shots (32) and field goal percentage (.518) as just a freshman.

That's something that Pearl will be hard pressed to replace this fall even with four starters returning, including All-American Chris Lofton and standout sophomore Wayne Chism, from a team that went 24-11 overall and reached the Sweet 16 with wins over Long Beach State and Virginia in the NCAA Tournament.

Former Razorback Taking New Path

Corliss Williamson holds a special place in the hearts of Arkansas fans.

After all, the former Razorback was the most outstanding player of the NCAA Tournament during the school's 1994 national championship season and even led Arkansas back to the national championship game the following year against eventual champ UCLA.

So after learning under coaching legends like Nolan Richardson and Larry Brown for the majority of his playing career, Williamson is returning to Little Rock to begin his own coaching career.

The former Sacramento King announced his retirement Wednesday after 12 seasons in the NBA to become an assistant coach at Arkansas Baptist College starting this season.

"I want to be able to give back to the game," he said. "I'm getting the opportunity to start a new dream, which is to become a head coach someday."

The announcement came at a news conference inside the halls of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame Museum, where family members and former teammates -- Scotty Thurman for one -- were in attendance.

After recently revamping its athletic department and starting a junior college football program earlier this year, Arkansas Baptist will be welcoming Williamson with opens arms as he returns to his home state.

So will the rest of the coaching community, including guys like Richardson, who looks forward to watching his former player go to work on the sidelines.

"I'm very proud that he wants to go into the coaching profession," Richardson said. "I think he'll be one of the better ones."

Posted by Josh Herwitt at 10:02 PM on September 26, 2007

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