Utah State has denied former forward David Collette a release, saying that his decision to leave the program two days before the start of the season left them without an adequate way to replace last season’s second-leading scorer and was unduly influenced by tampering from other coaching staffs.
“I think there were a lot of factors in play that, unfortunately, have become a trend in college basketball of schools poaching other schools’ players,” head coach Tim Duryea said in a Nov. 11th release announcing the transfer. “I don’t feel good and don’t like how things transpired.”
But that’s not how Collette, who averaged 12.8 points as a redshirt freshman, said things went down. He says he left the team because he and Duryea did not get along. Duryea was a longtime assistant for former head coach Stew Morrill.
The allegations Collette has made range from worrisome to embarrassingly petty. He told Yahoo! Sports and ESPN that the team was told not to tell anyone about a fight in practice, that the school immediately pulled all his athletic aid and that they went as far as to change his measurements on the team site from 6-foot-10, 235 pounds to 6-foot-8, 220 pounds.
Now trying to keep a practice fight off the media’s radar isn’t a huge issue; they happen more than you think and are a bigger deal as a headline than in the locker room. And if Collette is no longer on the team, he is no longer doing the work required to get that aid. Nothing wrong with that, either.
But changing what he’s listed at on the team site? Refusing to release, which prohibits him from being recruited by other coaching staffs and will force him to pay his own way at his new school for two semesters?
Bitter, petty and unnecessary.
This story is now a headline on three of the biggest sports websites. Pretty soon Jay Bilas will be railing against it on twitter, and probably on a broadcast, too; Utah State plays Duke on Sunday on ESPNU.
This is going to be a wave of negative publicity for a Utah State program that A) doesn’t make many national headlines, and B) might actually be pretty good this year.
Is that really worth getting revenge on some college sophomore that doesn’t like playing for you?