Eric Murdock

Former Rutgers staffer Eric Murdock confronted staff over Mike Rice’s behavior

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While there is the desire of many associated with the Rutgers basketball program to move forward, the fact of the matter remains that the controversy that led to the firing of Mike Rice will continue to hover for the foreseeable future.

Why? Because the lawsuit filed by former staffer Eric Murdock is still active, with Murdock seeking compensation for his dismissal from the program in 2012. And in a story by The Chronicle of Higher Education, there is audio of Murdock claiming that Rice treated his players “like slaves” and also discussing what action (or lack thereof) was taken by the coaching staff.

In an 11-minute, profanity-laced rant, which was secretly recorded by an assistant coach and reviewed as part of a Rutgers investigation of abuse allegations, Mr. Murdock described the staff’s unsuccessful efforts to rein in their volatile boss over the preceding two years. But the head coach, Mr. Murdock asserted, was still treating players “like slaves.”

“Just cracking the whip,” Mr. Murdock says on the recording, which The Chronicle obtained through a public-records request. “That’s all you’re doing. You’re cracking the whip.” And, he continues, when a player “can’t deliver you cut his toe off like … Kunta Kinte.”

Murdock, who spent two seasons as Rutgers’ director of player development, claimed in the suit that he was wrongfully terminated while the school says that insubordination was the reason for his dismissal.

This situation shouldn’t have much of an impact (if any) on new head coach Eddie Jordan. The questions that parents of prospective student-athletes will have when it comes to how their players will be treated will still be there, and the Rutgers coaching staff will likely have to deal with negative recruiting tactics as well.

But with Murdock’s suit still unresolved, the audio doesn’t help matters for an athletic department that has already shelled out millions of dollars as a result of this fiasco.

h/t SNY Rutgers

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

UNLV’s Stephen Zimmerman out with a knee injury

UNLV forward Stephen Zimmerman Jr. shoots against San Diego State during an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016, in Las Vegas. (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Sun via AP)
(L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Sun via AP)
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The injury Stephen Zimmerman suffered on Saturday will keep the star UNLV freshman out for at least a week, a source told NBC Sports.

The injury is not thought to be serious, however. Zimmerman may be kept out for longer as a precaution, but that’s a result of the Runnin’ Rebels being in a situation where the rest of their regular season is relatively meaningless.

They’re not getting an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament regardless of how they finish out league play. With back-up center Ben Carter out with a torn ACL, it’s more important to make sure that Zimmerman, who is averaging 10.6 points and 9.1 boards this season, is totally healthy for the Mountain West tournament.

That tournament, mind you, will be played at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center.

So the Runnin’ Rebels, regardless of how poor they’ve played this season, will always have a chance to land an automatic bid.

Anyway, the more interesting aspect of this story is how Zimmerman injured the knee. It was a completely avoidable play that came after the whistle, but I’m not sure it was what you would call a “dirty play”. You tell me:

VIDEO: Buddy Hield is ‘all money’ on game-winning three vs. No. 24 Texas

Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield (24) takes a shot over Oklahoma State forward Chris Oliver during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Stillwater, Okla., Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)
(AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)
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With a little more than three minutes left on Monday night, No. 24 Texas held a 57-51 lead on No. 3 Oklahoma in Norman as Jordan Woodard struggled again and Buddy Hield failed to find the rhythm that he had throughout the first three months of the season.

At that point in the game, Hield was 4-for-14 from the floor with 15 points and four turnovers. He had just missed a pair of wide-open threes

“I couldn’t make a shot,” Hield said after the game. But that changed down the stretch. First, Hield finally got a three to drop. On the next possession, he got all the way to the rim and scored. On the following two possessions, he was fouled on a drive to the rim and hit four free throws. And after missing a pull-up jumper, Hield did this:

“I told coach I wanted the ball,” Hield said, “I saw Lammert coming to bite, so I pulled up.”

“It’s all money.”

Hield is already the favorite to win National Player of the Year, and this performance is only going to help his cause further. Think about it like this: Buddy was not good on Monday night, at least according to his (admittedly lofty) standards. But he still finished with 27 points and shook off a cold shooting night just in time to take over down the stretch.

Now think about this: Hield’s head coach has enough confidence in him to hand him the keys in the final minutes despite the fact that he’s struggling and on a team that has two other players that Lon Kruger trusts on game-winning possessions. Think about it. When Oklahoma beat West Virginia at the buzzer, it was Jordan Woodard that the play was drawn up for. When they beat LSU, it was Isaiah Cousins that got the rock on the final possession while Hield was used as a decoy. .

Want to talk about coaching luxuries?

Kruger has three guards that can shoot, penetrate and score, and penetrate and kick, and one of them is the National Player of the Year that doesn’t mind being used as a decoy.