Babalola Back in Action

CLEMSON – Clemson basketball coach Oliver Purnell reinstated forward Olu Babalola to the team Monday, a week after the senior was suspended indefinitely for walking out of practice and doing damage to the team's locker room. <BR>

"I did a lot of thinking about it and had a couple of conversations with him," Purnell said. "It's my thinking that he understands his role on the team. I was comfortable that he understands that."

Babalola said the whole thing started with a misunderstanding that just escalated into him losing control of his temper.

"It was a misunderstanding and frustration," Babalola said. "It was just me thinking coach was getting on me. … My ankle was bad and I was frustrated and he was yelling at me for stuff I couldn't do (physically)."

After storming off the court following the exchange with Purnell, Babalola went into the locker room and promptly hit his face on a small door on a cabinet guarding a stereo system. Still very angry, Babalola slammed the little door out of his way, which broke it.

Babalola was then suspended and missed the next two games, including Friday's game at Boston College. And rather than stay at school and be around his teammates, he drove home to New Jersey, where he talked to those close to him and came to a decision that he wanted to play for the Tigers again.

"I just took the time to regroup myself," Babalola said. "I just felt like I wasn't wanted here and I don't want to be anywhere I'm not wanted. But once I calmed down, I thought things out the right way."

Purnell agreed to let Babalola return to the team with the understanding that he acted like a senior and was committed to the team.

"He needs to accept whatever role I decide for him at this point," Purnell said. "His role is to be a good teammate. … The ankle could be bothering him, but you have to play with bumps and bruises."

It's unclear whether or not Babalola will see much playing time Wednesday when the Tigers host Ohio State in the ACC-Big 10 Challenge. He hasn't practice with the team in a week and his ankle is still gimpy. Top Stories