Source: USA TODAY
Southern Illinois athletic director Mario Moccia said one of the core reasons Barry Hinson was hired as the men’s basketball coach two years ago was because the 52-year-old coach “brings passion into the equation.”
Moccia admitted Hinson’s passion took a wrong turn during the Salukis’ postgame news conference Tuesday night – as Hinson’s tirade went viral on the Internet and caused a national stir – but stood behind Hinson confidently.
Moccia said he texted Hinson at 6 a.m. Wednesday morning to discuss the coach’s news conference behavior in which he frustratingly ranted about his players’ lack of effort following the Salukis’ 73-65 loss to Murray State.
“I’ve got a bunch of mama’s boys right now,” Hinson told reporters at his postgame news conference. “I’m tired of coaching a guy and having him roll his eyes or put his head down or feel sorry for himself. This is big time. People lose their jobs.
“To me, when you’ve got a young team, it’s a lot like house-training a puppy dog. You know what, when the dog does something wrong, ‘bad dog.’ I’m not going to hit ‘em. I’m not going to swat ‘em, but bad dog, get on the treadmill.”
Hinson regretted the fact that he called out a specific player, saying starting guard Marcus Fillyaw was “PG-rated” and “absolutely awful,” but was unapologetic for the rest of his emotional rant.
“I stand by everything I said last night, but I apologize for singling out one individual. I should be chastised for that,” Hinson told USA TODAY Sports in a phone interview Wednesday morning. “Let’s get something straight: I didn’t grab anybody, I didn’t hit anybody. I didn’t even use profanity. I just want my kids to play harder. You’ve gotta be able to criticize in this society. I want what’s best for my players.
“I told my players the same (message) in the locker room in a calmer manner (Tuesday night). I believe in telling people to their face exactly how I feel. I say what’s on my heart.”
Moccia spoke to Southern Illinois chancellor Rita Cheng but said the administration decided not to punish Hinson.
“We don’t ever condone a coach publicly criticizing a student-athlete,” Moccia told USA TODAY Sports by phone Wednesday afternoon. “I spoke to Barry about governing his passions. I’ve been hearing, ‘Their AD is out of touch, he condones that (behavior).’ No, but I recognize that’s part of who Barry is. The nation doesn’t know Barry. I do and I know for a fact that Barry cares about these kids, and their emotional bank accounts are full. He’s demonstrated that in the last 20 months with us.
“One of the main reasons we hired Barry was because of his passion. We need a coach who will engage with the fans and be honest to them. I think he was caught up in frustration because he feels like he let people down.”
Hinson said he received hundreds of supportive emails and texts from parents around the country and his coaching peers, including Kansas coach Bill Self, who gave his full support.
The reception wasn’t all well received, though, particularly within SIU’s team. Senior forward Davante Drinkard tweeted, “I can’t believe the little man had the nerve to call us mama’s boys. Smh. I guess this is where Our team learns to point the finger.” And ESPN personality Tony Kornheiser labeled Hinson’s behavior as an “embarrassment” to Southern Illinois University.
During Hinson’s rant, he sarcastically said, “My wife — my wife! — can score more than two buckets on 11 shots because I know my wife will at least shot fake one time. … I’ve been telling my wife this for years: Size doesn’t matter.”
“My wife was OK with everything I said except for talking about one specific player,” Hinson said Wednesday.
Hinson said his assistant coaches informed him that the YouTube clip of his news conference went viral on the Internet late Tuesday night but he was taken off-guard by the national attention.
“I’m so old school, I thought viral meant you were getting sick,” Hinson said. “I know it’s a firestorm and I’m on ESPN. I told my (athletic department) I’ll handle this like a big boy and take responsibility.”
“Look, I’m like this 24/7, this is part of who I am,” Hinson added. “I’m passionate about what I do. I’m passionate about my players and my program. You know what? It gets the better of me sometime. …Everyone who knows me, knows this is who I am.”
The Salukis (2-8) have lost four in a row and own the worst record in the Missouri Valley Conference. SIU was 14-17 (6-12 in the MVC) during Hinson’s first season last year. Hinson, the longtime coach at Missouri State, was thrown out of a game against Illinois State last season. In response to the ejection, the Salukis won six of their last nine games. He’s hoping this season’s outburst serves as a similar “alarm clock” for his team.
Source: USA TODAY
THE FIRST WORD: North Carolina added another top 10 victory to its head-scratching résumé on Saturday, outlasting a young turnover-prone Kentucky team 82-77 despite 19 missed foul shots to improve to 7-2 on the season.
The Tar Heels fed off the home crowd and took control of the tempo in the second half, shooting 57% after the break. Marcus Paige came up huge, scoring 21 of his 23 points in the second half, as UNC scored 20 points off turnovers against the Wildcats, who struggled to find an offensive rhythm due to foul trouble. Forward James Michael McAdoo had 20 points, while UK’s big men — Willie Cauley-Stein (5 points) and Julius Randle (3-for-9 from field) — weren’t nearly as effective.
The victory certainly wasn’t pretty, but North Carolina managed to pull away for yet another marquee victory. The Tar Heels knocked off then-No. 1 Michigan State and before that upset then-No. 2 Louisville. Those two schools, plus Kentucky, were the preseason top three. The three wins for the Tar Heels are all the more impressive with top scorer P.J. Hairston and Leslie McDonald sitting out because of NCAA eligibility concerns.
Based off those victories, the Tar Heels are arguably one of the best teams in the country, but a pair of confounding losses make Roy Williams’ group similar to a fancy new car covered in mud. The reason this UNC team was barely in the top 25 this week? Try daunting setbacks against mid-majors Belmont and UAB. Saturday’s win against UK, the Tar Heels’ third in a row, was a step in the right direction in the consistency department. But in order for North Carolina to establish itself as a premier team, it’ll have to take care of business on the home stretch of its non-conference schedule. Home games against Texas (Dec. 18) and Davidson (Dec. 21) will serve as the perfect barometer to determine this team’s ceiling.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “What we are right now is we’re not a good basketball team. And we’re not a good team because our emotion is all based on our individual play instead of our team play. … Our stuff is all based on ‘Did I miss a free throw, did I get beat on the dribble, did I miss a shot, did I turn it over?’ We’ve got to get through this. But we had chances to let go of the rope, and we didn’t. We are what we are right now. We’ve got a long way to go.” — Kentucky coach John Calipari after his team’s loss to UNC.
GAME OF THE NIGHT: Right when Michigan had No. 1 Arizona on the ropes, the Wildcats responded with a poised counter-punch — outscoring the Wolverines by 10 points in the final 6:30 to pull out a 72-70 victory. Aaron Gordon, Kaleb Tarczewski and Brandon Ashley combined for 46 points and 20 rebounds. Read Nicole Auerbach’s 4-point play analysis on the game.
HIGHLIGHT REEL: Tennessee’s Jordan McRae landed a monstrous dunk against Wichita State on Saturday. Unfortunately he was whistled for a technical foul upon celebrating.
STAR WATCH: Former Kentucky guard Ryan Harrow has been playing much more comfortably out of the big blue shadow. Harrow, now playing at Georgia State, had 33 points in a win against Old Dominion.
WINNERS, LOSERS: Breaking down Saturday’s victories that matter the most and the losses that stain résumés the worst.
ON DECK: A look at the best matchups to watch on Sunday. All times Eastern.
— No. 3 Syracuse at St. John’s (Noon, FOX Sports 1): The Orange gets its first big road test of the season against an offensively potent St. John’s squad. Jim Boeheim’s 2-3 zone causes headaches against most teams, but the Red Storm possess the firepower to pull of an upset behind high-scoring guard D’Angelo Harrison and big man Jakarr Sampson.
— Also worth watching: La Salle at Villanova (2:30 p.m., FOX Sports 1).
Scott Gleeson, a national college basketball writer/producer for USA TODAY Sports, is on Twitter @ScottMGleeson.
Source: USA TODAY
HOW THE BUFFALOES WON: Before the incredible buzzer-beater that deemed this game a huge upset, Colorado had taken control of the game and held a six-point lead with 1:44 remaining. Kansas came storming back in the game’s final minutes and tied the game off a Perry Ellis bucket with four seconds left. Then you know the rest. But it’s important to remember the seventh-ranked Jayhawks, having now lost two of their last three games, were in a hole for a reason.
Kansas trumps Colorado in the talent department, and freshman sensation Andrew Wiggins has more upside than any player on the court. But we saw the veteran-laden Buffaloes coming together as a team for much of this game and it wasn’t until the clock started to wind down that the Jayhawks started showing urgency and more of a dependency on Wiggins when coach Bill Self was drawing up plays specifically for his superstar. It’s a team game, but you don’t let the country’s most talented play blend in, you lean on him. Kansas needs more of that and hopefully this was a wake-up call.
STAR WATCH: Askia Booker and Spencer Dinwiddie led Colorado with 15 points apiece and provided a solid 1-2 scoring punch, but of course, Booker’s 25-foot buzzer-beating three-pointer makes him the hero of Saturday’s upset. Freshman sensation Andrew Wiggins played admirably, finishing with 22 points (17 coming in the second half) to lead all scorers. His play down the stretch kept it close for KU and his defense at the top of the zone was stellar. Remember, as good as Joel Embiid, Wayne Selden and Perry Ellis are, it’s about time Wiggins started playing like more of a go-to player, not necessarily to live up to outrageous expectations, but to play up to his ability.
WHAT THIS MEANS IN A NUTSHELL: It means Kansas, much like a young Kentucky team last night, has some growing up to do. More importantly, it’s a wake-up call that this Colorado team, now winner of nine in a row, belongs in the top 25. Colorado returns its nucleus from a group coming off back-to-back NCAA tournament and their veteran presence showed Saturday night. The Buffaloes haven’t lost since their opener against Baylor. And that loss doesn’t look bad at all after the Bears took down Kentucky Friday night. This is a solid résumé-boost for a Pac-12 contender.
AND-1: The fans exploded onto the court to celebrate the program’s ninth consecutive win and its first against Kansas (6-2) since 2003. Kansas still leads one of the most lopsided series west of the Mississippi 123-40.
Scott Gleeson, a national college basketball writer/producer for USA TODAY Sports, is on Twitter @USATODAYSports.
Source: USA TODAY
Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston expressed relief and gratitude to continue playing football and noted that he “never lost faith in the truth” after it was announced that there were no charges following a sexual battery investigation.
Winston was not present at the Leon County Courthouse following the news conference announcing his innocence but he issued a written statement through his attorney Tim Jansen, who met with reporters after the initial news conference.
“I want to thank my family, friends, coaches and teammates for standing by me during a difficult time,” Winston wrote.
“I also want to thank the State Attorney’s Office for examining all of the facts and reaching a decision in a conclusive manner. It’s been difficult to stay silent through this process, but I never lost faith in the truth and in who I am. I’m very relieved I will be able to continue my education at Florida State and I’m excited I can now get back to helping our team achieve its goals.”
Jansen told reporters Winston took an exam at 1 p.m. and had football practice so he was not addressing the media at that time.
“He was very happy,” Jansen said of Winston’s reaction. “I can say he gave me a hug.”