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.

Clemson lands 2017 guard

Brad Brownell
AP Photo
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Clemson landed a quality commitment on Tuesday as Class of 2017 guard A.J. Oliver committed to the Tigers. The son of Clemson women’s head coach Audra Smith, Oliver is regarded as a three-star prospect, according to Rivals, although some others view him as a top-100 caliber player.

The 6-foot-4 Oliver attends nearby Daniel High School and should have some time to get acclimated with the players and coaches before he sets foot on campus. A versatile guard who plays hard, Oliver showed that he can make plays with the ball in his hands this summer with the Upward Stars.

Oliver is Clemson’s first commitment in the Class of 2017 and it’s a strong start for head coach Brad Brownell.

Arizona’s Tarczewski out 4-to-6 weeks

Kaleb Tarczewski, Sean Miller
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Arizona will be without senior center Kaleb Tarczewski for 4-to-6 weeks, the school announced on Tuesday. The 7-foot Tarczewski suffered a stress reaction and strained muscle to his left foot and he’ll have some time to heal before the main portion of the Pac-12 conference schedule.

The experienced Tarczewski was averaging 8.6 points and 7.2 rebounds per game before going down with injury. Without the senior in the lineup, Arizona fell to Providence in the Wooden Legacy last week. Without Tarczewski in the lineup, the Wildcats could turn to center Dusan Ristic while forward Ryan Anderson has had some solid outings this season.

Missing Tarczewski for the rest of non-conference play will hurt but he’ll get to rest and recover for the stretch run while the Wildcats can mix in some new frontcourt pieces.