Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Jelan Kendrick suspended from Memphis for threatening a teammate

On a day that has been filled with more than its share of college hoops news, perhaps the most surprising comes from Memphis.

Gary Parrish broke the news today that one of Josh Pastner's star freshman, McDonald's all-american and top 20 national recruit Jelan Kendrick, has been suspended indefinitely from the team. It appears that the cause of that suspension was a verbal threat from Kendrick to a teammate, although what that threat actually was and who it was directed at is unclear. (I tuned into Parrish's radio show this afternoon, and he said that he had heard too many different stories and that he didn't want to put a name out there if he didn't have it right.)

For those in the know, this apparently comes as no surprise. Kendrick bounced around high schools. He bounced from AAU team to AAU team. He's had behavioral issues in the past. When he would get into trouble, he would he elsewhere without punishment.

At Memphis that didn't fly.

This also isn't the first time he's been in trouble there. From Parrish's blog:

A separate source, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told CBSSports.com that in addition to the threat -- a threat that was deemed serious enough to report to school officials -- Kendrick has been in multiple fights with teammates since arriving on campus, one of which led to second-year coach Josh Pastner banning Kendrick from the Tigers' preseason trip to the Bahamas. Reached Tuesday by phone, Pastner declined to discuss with CBSSports.com the details surrounding Kendrick's suspension. He said only that, "It's a personal matter, and Jelan will be back [with the team] when the matter is resolved."
It seems that Josh Pastner and the Tiger staff left him at home to, more or less, belabor the point that this kind of behavior was not acceptable. He didn't learn, he acted out again by threatening someone else in the program, and now he has been suspended. Its not crazy to think that this is also the end of Kendrick's Memphis career.

Hopefully, Kendrick can work through whatever issues he is currently dealing with; he's apparently already in counseling, which is the first step. What's sad is that if Kendrick does change -- whether it is at Memphis or at another school -- he will be followed around by this the rest of his career. He's talented enough to one day be a first round pick in the NBA Draft, and even if he proves it on the court, he may have just cost himself some guaranteed money down the road.

Think about it like this -- he made a threat that was serious enough and credible enough that he got himself suspended indefinitely -- and quite possibly kicked off the team -- and sent to counseling. If you are an NBA GM, are you going to invest in that person without doing a thorough and deep background check?

Whether its the ability to make money in the stock market or an incredible musical talent or a world class athletic skill, you hate to see talent get wasted.

Here's to hoping Jelan Kendrick can put it all together.

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