More trouble for the basketball program at Oregon as two more players were cited for shoplifting for allegedly taking items at a grocery store across the street from Matthew Knight Arena in September.
Jalil Abdul-Bassit and Elgin Cook, two of the three scholarship players returning from last season’s Oregon team, were caught with stolen goods at 3:17 p.m. on Sept. 12, according to a report from The Register-Guard in Eugene.
Abdul-Bassit and Cook were both cited in lieu of custody for theft in the third degree, a Class C misdemeanor where stolen property totals less than $100. Both players were given a date to appear in court.
According to the Register-Guard, Craig Pintens, the senior associate athletic director for marketing and public relations at Oregon, said the university “knew of the incident the day it happened, and the two players were disciplined immediately.”
He also provided a statement from men’s basketball coach Dana Altman to the Register-Guard.
“We are disappointed with these two young men,” Altman said in the statement. “We expect our student athletes to conduct themselves as solid members of this community and team. Both are being disciplined internally.”
After three Oregon players, Dominic Artis, Brandon Austin and Damyean Dotson were expelled after an investigation for sexual assault last spring, this is not a good look for Oregon’s basketball program to have more off-the-court problems.
For Oregon to have two players cited for shoplifting who were on the team during that investigation shows that Altman needs to do a better job of getting through to his players. In the wake of that investigation last spring, and the public relations nightmare afterward, the last thing Oregon’s men’s basketball program needed was more trouble with the law.
The 6-foot-6 Cook appeared in all 34 games last season and averaged 6.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game for Oregon. The redshirt junior is expected to be a contributor this season as one of the Ducks’ few returning scholarship players with experience. Cook helped lead Oregon to a 2014 NCAA Tournament victory over BYU in the Round of 64 last year with a 23-point, eight-rebound performance in only 23 minutes off-the-bench.
The 6-foot-4 Abdul-Bassit, a senior, played in 17 games last season and averaged 1.9 points per game.
Both Abdul-Bassit and Cook transferred into Oregon before last season after spending time at the junior college level.