Javier Morales is a former first-place award winner in the Arizona Press Club’s Metro Sports Reporting category. Please visit his Web site at WILDABOUTAZCATS.net
Twice suspended and three times disciplined, and Josiah Turner‘s freshman season is not even over yet, or is it?
His season may be over because Arizona coach Sean Miller suspended him indefinitely, according to the school. The Wildcats play today in the Pac-12 tournament against UCLA in Los Angeles. If they lose, they are likely bound for the NIT. An indifferent Arizona team might only last one game in that secondary tournament.
My hope is that Miller stand firm with this indefinite suspension and prevent Turner from returning this season. Turner should not return until it becomes obvious and sincere that the young man is remorseful and ready to grow up. Miller should not open the door for Turner simply because he needs the highly-touted point guard for victories on the court.
If Miller caves in and thinks of wins more than setting the right example, it will fall in line with the mentality that has allowed Turner and many other players to become wayward. It’s that AAU mentality of caring only about a player’s raw skills rather than the makeup of the player’s character. Some of its coaches are viewed as street agents.
“College sports are no longer for pleasure; it’s a business that must meet the supply and demand of the high rollers and overzealous benefactors who have no idea of the pressure of the student-athlete,” high school counselor Julius Holt, a football letterman at Arizona from 1981-83, commented on my personal Facebook site last night.
“(That) is a shame because the innocence and purity of college athletics is no longer present. Athletes are considered great way too early and some haven’t even proven that they’re good, but we praise them as a star.”
The Catch-22 of these AAU summer leagues is that while they prepare the athlete for the rigors of travel and playing against top-notch opposition, they also create self-centered players who think they can play in the NBA after only one college season. An education to them is far from a priority.
These players behave the same as before they came to college — they do not grow up — because they were successful before with these bad personal habits. They think they can ask, “If it’s worked before, why can’t it now? I’ll be gone before too long any way.”
We have seen college basketball erode because of this mentality. Look at the number of suspensions and dismissals of some of the players this season.