How common is Mike Rice’s behavior?


By now, you’ve probably heard: Rutgers men’s basketball coach Mike Rice has been fired over the video that was given to ESPN’s Outside The Lines by Eric Murdoch, a former NBA player and Rutgers staff member.

That video, which can be seen here, depicts Rice acting in an unacceptable manner towards the players he coaches. He pushes them, he tosses them around by the jersey, he fires basketballs at them and, in addition to a constant string of obscenities, Rice also uses a gay slur at one of his players.

It would be surprising if Athletic Director Tim Pernetti were able to keep his job when this is all said and done as well. Back in December, Pernetti suspended Rice for three games — ultimately costing him about a quarter of his yearly salary in fines — as a result of his conduct. Pernetti was made aware of the accusations last summer and saw the video in November. The fact that he didn’t fire Rice means that he determined this to be acceptable behavior.

When you’re a public figure, public perception plays a major role in your job, and right now, the perception of Pernetti and Rice couldn’t be any worse. Everyone, from the Governor of New Jersey to LeBron James, has weighed in, and the opinion is a consensus: neither man’s behavior was in anyway acceptable. Mike Rice didn’t last 24 hours after the video of his practices surfaced, and it may cost his AD his job as well.

Here’s the question that everyone wants to know: just how many coaches run practices like this? Plenty. Among them:

(This doesn’t include college football coaches such as Woody Hayes, whose temper cost him his job, or Texas Tech coach Mike Leach who reportedly ordered him to stand in a darkened garage after suffering a concussion.)

The bottom line? This kind of behavior — bullying, intimidation and what borders on physical assault — is no longer acceptable in the coaching ranks. Anyone that feels the need to do so to motivate his players knows full well that he’s risking his job.

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I think it’s also worth noting that both Rice and Gillispie were coaching teams that stunk. Maybe abuse isn’t the best coaching technique, eh?

MORE: How an assistant’s departure sealed Rice’s fate

Basketball coaches can curse with the best of them. Listening to the way they talk to the referees would make George Carlin blush, so imagine how they speak to their players — their subordinates — when the spotlight is gone and ESPN isn’t taping. You can sit in on a Mick Cronin practice and learn five new cuss words a day.

But the physical nature?

Throwing basketballs are players from point blank range?

Kicking them? Pushing them? Tossing them around?

MORE: Rights group expresses support for Rice’s firing

That’s not common. And while I’m sure there are places that it does happen, I wonder how many of those coaches are reconsidering their behavior after watching what has happened with Rice and Gillispie.

Sadly, I have a feeling that quite a few practice tapes bit the dust last night, as well.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

No. 14 Cal goes 0-2 in Las Vegas Invitational

Jaylen Brown
AP Photo/Ben Margot
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After midnight on the east coast on Thanksgiving, No. 14 Cal blew a 15 point second half lead against San Diego State, allowing the Aztecs to use a 30-6 run to put away the game and advance to the final of the Las Vegas Invitational. That’s the same San Diego State team had scored 43 points in a loss to Arkansas-Little Rock last week.

Not 24 hours later, the Golden Bears were shredded defensively by the Richmond Spiders, losing 94-90 in the consolation game of a four-team tournament they were considered to be the heavy favorite in.

It’s a disappointing two-game stretch for Cal, who entered the season as a Pac-12 favorite and had looked the part for the first four games of the season.

And the issue appears to be on the defensive end of the floor.

Richmond is a good Atlantic 10 team. Terry Allen and Marshall Wood are high-major big men, Shawn’Dre Jones is a jitterbug at the point and Chris Mooney runs a Princeton-esque system that is very difficult to prepare for without a day in-between games. So it’s not really surprising that the Spiders gave Cal a fight.

But 94 points?

On the heels of giving up 44 points in the second half against the offensively-challenged Aztecs?

That’s a problem, one that I’m sure that Cuonzo Martin is going to address this week in practice. Martin has managed to put together a roster that is build for small-ball, with four talented perimeter players surrounding a first round pick in the post. But that’s not the style that he’s known for. Martin played his college ball at Purdue in the Gene Keady days. He cut his teeth as a head coach at Missouri State in the Missouri Valley. His team’s at Tennessee were known for being tough and physical defensively.

That’s how Martin coaches, which is part of the reason Cal had such hype entering the year.

The talents of Tyrone Wallace, Jaylen Brown, Ivan Rabb, Jabari Bird and Jordan Mathews on a team with a coach that gets teams to defend the way Martin does? It’s no surprise that pundits would be optimistic.

But as of now, they have some work to do defensively if they want to live up to that hype.

Tyler Ulis injured as No. 1 Kentucky beats South Florida

Tyler Ulis, Ky Howard
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MIAMI (AP) Jamal Murray had 21 points and No. 1 Kentucky scored the final 15 points of the first half on the way to beating South Florida 84-63 in the HoopHall Miami Invitational on Friday.

Skal Labissiere added 17 points for the Wildcats (6-0), who led by as many as 31. Charles Matthews scored 11 points and Isaiah Briscoe finished with seven assists for Kentucky, now a winner of 37 consecutive regular-season games and 39 in a row against unranked opponents.

Chris Perry scored 14 points for USF (1-5), which has lost 18 consecutive games against teams ranked in the Top 25. Jaleel Cousins added 12 points on 5-for-6 shooting, and Jahmal McMurray scored 11 points for the Bulls.

Kentucky played the second half without starting guard Tyler Ulis, who departed with a right elbow injury after getting hurt while fighting for a ball loose on the floor.

Kentucky announced after the game that the injury was a hyperextension of the elbow and that he will be day-to-day.

The Bulls were within 27-21 with 6 minutes left in the first half after McMurray banked in a 3-pointer only a few feet away from where John Calipari was standing, and the look of anguish on the Kentucky coach’s face was clear.

It didn’t last long.

The Wildcats scored on seven of their next nine possessions and the game was over by halftime, Kentucky going into the break with a 42-21 lead.

It was a reunion for plenty of people on both benches. Calipari squared off with his former assistant Orlando Antigua, now in his second year leading USF. Antigua’s staff includes another former Calipari assistant in Rod Strickland, plus former Kentucky basketball staff members Mike Malone and Dominic Lombardi.

So the staffs have plenty of familiarity. On the court, there was plenty of disparity. Kentucky finished with a commanding 23-6 edge in points off turnovers and finished with 16 assists to the Bulls’ six.