Montrezl Harrell of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers has been suspended five games for shoving an official to the floor during a D-League contest on Saturday, the league announced.
In a statement on Monday, the National Basketball Referees Association condemned Harrell for “deliberate assault and battery” on a referee.”
Following the final possession of the Vipers’ game against the Bakersfield Jam, Harrell charged in for a rebound and became tangled up with Derek Cooke Jr. Cooke shoved Harrell, who responded by throwing a referee to the floor.
“After carefully reviewing videotape and related evidence concerning this incident, we have reached the inescapable conclusion that Harrell committed a deliberate assault and battery against Referee [Jason] Goldenberg,” NBRA general counsel Lee Seham said. “Anything less than a multiple game suspension would constitute a green light for violence against officials.”
Cooke received a one-game suspension for his role in the incident.
Harrell, 22, was a second-round pick of the Rockets in 2015 out of Louisville. He’s played 38 games in the NBA this season with Houston, and averaged 3.6 points and 1.7 rebounds in 9.8 minutes.
– Kenny Ducey