Off The Court Troubles

By Josh Herwitt - September 05, 2007

We're still more than a month away from the official start of the 2007-08 season, but yesterday was a busy day off the court as several players from different schools found their way onto the AP wire for various degrees of criminal activity.

So without trying to be another lowly police log, here's a few quick notes from around the country...

Memphis Duo Charged After Nightclub Scuffle

Memphis coach John Calipari had to be excited about welcoming Shawn Taggart and Jeff Robinson to campus this fall, but he isn't too happy after the two players were arrested over the weekend for allegedly starting a fight outside a Memphis nightclub.

On Tuesday, the two, who have yet to play a game for the Tigers, pleaded not guilty to charges of disorderly conduct and inciting a riot and will wait to hear the judge's decision when the case resumes on Sept. 25.

Taggart, a 6-foot-11 sophomore forward who transferred after spending the 2005-06 season at Iowa State, was accused of starting the fight before he began taunting spectators watching the incident outside the club. Robinson, meanwhile, was charged with assault for approaching a police officer aggressively and using verbal threats.

But while this sort of news doesn't shine the kind of light that Calipari wants on his program, we shouldn't be seeing too many more of these incidents from Memphis players.

Following the incident, the eighth-year coach quickly imposed a team curfew and prohibited his players from visiting nightclubs any longer.

Baldonado Out Indefinitely

After making a miraculous recovery last fall and sitting out the 2006-07 season, Stuard Baldonado doesn't know if he'll playing basketball for Duquesne again.

The junior power forward, who was one of the five Dukes shot after an on-campus dance last September, was suspended from the team indefinitely following his arrest last week on a drug conspiracy charge.

On Tuesday, Duquesne coach Ron Everhart explained that Baldonado had been suspended for violating the university's code of student rights, responsibilities and conduct but would not confirm what exactly triggered the suspension.

"Our basketball players are held to the same standard of accountability as the general student population," the second-year coach wrote. "We fully expect them to adhere to university policies and procedures at all times."

It's hard not to feel bad for Baldonado after all he's been through over the last year, but he's not really helping his cause by making bad decision after bad decision.

Here's hoping that he can get his act together and get back on the floor so he can prove to people why he was one of the top junior college recruits before enrolling at Duquesne.

Five UAB Players Arrested

UAB coach Mike Davis would rather be worrying about the upcoming season than his players' safety and well-being.

But the former Indiana coach is having to discipline five of his players after they were arrested last week outside a dance club.

"I am sorry for the embarrassment this has caused the rest of the team, friends and fans of UAB basketball and the institution," Davis told the Associated Press. "Appropriate disciplinary action has been taken, and we are moving on as a program."

Channing Toney, a junior transfer from Georgia, faces the most serious charge of the five players after physically harassing a police officer.

The players, who are all newcomers to the team, were charged with disorderly conduct among other offenses when they began arguing and fighting among themselves.

Fighting among themselves? Aren't these guys supposed to be teammates?

It's one thing if things got testy between them and another group at the club, but to get arrested for fighting your teammates has to be one of dumbest, most boneheaded things I've seen in a long time.

While I feel sorry for Davis, who is just starting his first season at UAB, this is what happens when you recruit kids clearly for their basketball talent and nothing else. There's always something to be said about a team that can act with class and character.

Posted by Josh Herwitt at 07:56 PM on September 05, 2007

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