Although Iowa dismissed junior guard Pierre Pierce from its basketball team on Feb. 2 after an allegation that he had assaulted a female acquaintance, Memphis had a different response in the case of junior guard Jeremy Hunt. On Jan. 19 the Tigers reinstated Hunt (left) to the team only six days after he was suspended following his arrest on a misdemeanor assault charge involving an ex-girlfriend. According to the arrest warrant issued for Hunt, the woman claimed she was "pushed, shoved, punched and grabbed" and that Hunt appeared to be under the influence of alcohol. Two days after the alleged incident, a writer for The Commercial Appeal who saw the woman reported that one of her eyes was black and blue, the other was swollen and that she had bruises on her neck and an arm and cuts on her nose and face.
Memphis officials defended their action by saying that "Hunt's innocence or guilt has not been proven," and that they made the call based on "additional information" they had collected. Coach John Calipari says he played no role in the decision.
Hunt is entitled to a presumption of innocence, but a basketball team is not a court of law. Playing basketball in college is a privilege, not a right. There is no textbook way to handle these situations, but the "additional information" Memphis officials cited would have to be irrefutable to justify reinstating Hunt so quickly. If he is exonerated, the school's decision will be validated. But if Hunt is found guilty, the basketball program will have an ugly black eye of its own.
February 21, 2005
1 Dan Grunfeld's injury is a devastating blow to Stanford's NCAA tournament hopes. The 6'6" junior guard (right), the Cardinal's leading scorer (17.9 ppg), tore his right ACL last Saturday in a win over Cal. Stanford had played its way onto the bubble after starting the season 2-4 but now is almost certain to miss out on the Big Dance.
2 North Carolina will have a tough road to the Final Four if Rashad McCants continues to struggle. The Tar Heels' 6'4" junior guard, a career 41.8% three-point shooter, has made just 25% from behind the arc in UNC's last eight games, including a 1-for-8 effort (3 for 13 overall) in its Feb. 9 loss at Duke.
3 The wheels have come off the Sooner Schooner. Since beating Texas and Oklahoma State at home in late January, Oklahoma, which was ranked 13th three weeks ago, has dropped four of its last five games, including an overtime loss last Saturday at Missouri, which came in with a 2-7 record in the Big 12.
More Hoop Thoughts from Seth Davis every Tuesday at SI.com.