NCAA basketball notebook: 2 Rutgers players defend fired coach Rice
TribLIVE Sports Videos
PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Two Rutgers basketball players on Mike Rice's team say the fired coach wasn't the abusive tyrant he appears to be on a widely viewed video that ultimately cost him his job.
“You can't let those individual moments define what he was,” junior forward Wally Judge said. “In my past two years, me being an older guy and being under other coaches, I have grown from the moment I stepped in these doors, not only as a player but also as a person because of how he has treated me.”
Sophomore forward Austin Johnson agreed.
“He did a lot for us off the court, academically, socially,” he said. “I have to say I enjoyed my time, even if it was an emotional rollercoaster.
“I am not saying what he did wasn't wrong, because I do believe it was wrong. But it is also tough because it was a highlight reel of his worst moments.”
Rice was fired Wednesday, the day after a video aired on ESPN showing him shoving, grabbing and throwing balls at players in practice and using gay slurs.
Pitt guard Tray Woodall also defended Rice, who recruited him when he was an assistant coach there.
Woodall said Rice is “not the only coach to put his hands on a player, or talk the way he did.”
Judge insisted Rice wasn't a “villain.”
“He wasn't a guy we hated or despised,” Judge said. “After practice, we would all go in the locker room and laugh. It was never a sad face or a hung head. When we got in the locker room we were a family. We laughed.”
Also Thursday, Rutgers said it will pay Rice the $100,000 bonus that he is due for lasting through the season. His five-year contract called for a $100,000 bonus if he completed the 2012-13 season.
Rutgers assistant steps down amid scandal
Rutgers assistant coach Jimmy Martelli, who worked with Rice at Robert Morris, resigned amid a scandal over the way his former boss treated players.
The Star-Ledger reported Martelli was seen in a portion of the video that was not broadcast on television shoving a player during a practice.
Martelli is the son of St. Joseph's coach Phil Martelli.
Murdock sought$950K as settlement
An attorney for Eric Murdock, Rutgers' former director of player development, sought $950,000 from the university as settlement for Murdock's wrongful termination claims, according to an ESPN report.
Barry A. Kozyra, Murdock's attorney, sent a two-page letter in December to the university seeking $950,000. The letter was dated two weeks after Rice was suspended three games without pay and fined $50,000 for violating athletic department policy.
Burke, Larranaga win AP honors
Michigan sophomore point guard Trey Burke and Miami's Jim Larranaga were selected The Associated Press' college basketball Player and Coach of the Year, respectively.
Burke, who led the Wolverines into the Final Four, received 31 votes from a 65-member national media panel. Otto Porter Jr. of Georgetown was second with 16 votes, and Victor Oladipo of Indiana got 10.
Larranaga, who led Miami to the ACC regular season and tournament titles and a No. 2 ranking, received 29 votes. Jim Crews of Saint Louis got 19 votes, and Mark Few of Gonzaga had 11.
Around the nation
Ed Rush resigned as the Pac-12's coordinator of officials following comments that he targeted Arizona coach Sean Miller during internal meetings before the league tournament. ... Memphis forward-guard Adonis Thomas plans to sign with an agent and declare for the NBA Draft. … A 22-year-old Michigan State student has been charged for his role in furniture fires in East Lansing following the Spartans' loss to Duke in the NCAA Tournament. His name wasn't released.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates say goodbye to veteran leaders Burnett, Ramirez
- South Fayette extends winning streak in dominating fashion
- Franklin Regional runs past Hampton
- Gorman: WPIAL must answer with power move
- Penn-Trafford QB Laffoon sets career TD pass mark in rout of Hempfield
- Steelers notebook: Starting DEs not leaving the field
- Freeport takes chances, cashes in during shutout of Highlands
- Opposing TEs took differing paths to greatness
- Cole working to become Penguins’ next Martin on defense
- Rock Steelers Style, other fashion events team up for a good cause
- NFL notebook: Cardinals to stay in W.Va. ahead of Steelers game