PEACH JAM: Bizarre Event Mars Morning Session

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. --- Bizarre is the one way to describe how Team Florida went from a two point lead to a nine point deficit in the span of about 12 seconds Thursday morning on day two of the Peach Jam AAU Basketball Tournament. Another appropriate word might be embarrassing, which is how tournament director Ed Meyers described it.

Team Florida held a 70-68 lead over Mean Streets Express of Chicago with a little over four minutes remaining in the game. A foul was called on Team Florida and that's when it got interesting.

Team Florida's Nick Calathes was behind the official that made the call and the official turned to his right and bumped into Calathes who was walking up behind him. The official promptly called a technical foul on Calathes.

Calathes opened his hands in a "what for?" or "who me?" gesture and he was hit with a second technical foul and an ejection.

Mean Streets Express hit all six free throws, took the ball inbounds and went inside immediately where Kevin Johnson dunked and was fouled. He missed the free throw but Mean Streets' Tim Flowers rebounded and kicked it out to Eric Gordon who knocked down a three pointer from the wing.

In the span of about 12 seconds, Team Florida went from a 70-68 lead to a 79-70 deficit and faced the final four minutes of the game without Calathes, a University of Florida commitment who had 24 points, seven rebounds and five assists at the time of the ejection.

Behind Chandler Parsons, who finished the game with 27 points, 11 rebounds and five assists, Team Florida rallied to make it interesting in the final two minutes but the damage was done when Calathes was ejected.

"I still don't know what I did," said Calathes, who was stunned by the ejection.

"This is a total embarrassment," said Myers, the tournament director. Myers and other tournament directors watched the sequence of events from the balcony and they also had the advantage of seeing the video of what happened.

Under tournament by-laws, a player that is ejected or gets two technicals, is ineligible to play the next game but that rule was waived when the tournament directors reviewed what happened. The official was suspended for the remainder of the tournament.

"Nick will play the next game," said Myers. "He will not face a suspension. We reviewed what happened and the two technical fouls were not merited. We've known this kid [Calathes] and his family since he was nine years old. He's a great kid from a fine family and he's not the kind of kid that would do something that would get two technical fouls. When we reviewed everything that happened, we were embarrassed. It shouldn't have happened. Nick didn't do anything to merit it."

* * *

Ted Valentine, one of the top officials in the Southeastern Conference and one of the officiating crew that called the University of Florida's NCAA championship game victory over UCLA, is holding an official's camp this week during Peach Jam. Immediately after the two tech incident, Valentine explained how he handles situations like that.

"You have to have a feel for the game and make sure you know the kids you're working with," he said. "You've got to know when a kid's trying to show you up or when he's just frustrated. You don't just set it in your mind that this or that will be a technical. It may be, but maybe not depending on the situation. You can't lose control of the game or the situation … that's what's most important."

After the game, Valentine was seen huddled for quite some time with the officiating crew that called the Team Florida-Mean Streets Express game.

Word was circulating at noon time that the official that called the double technical on Calathes had been suspended for the remainder of the tournament by Valentine and the tournament directors.

* * *

Patrick Patterson, the burly power forward from Huntington, West Virginia, helped Boo Williams defeat the Georgia Blazers, 70-47, in the morning session. Ten of the 11 Boo Williams players scored in the easy win. Patterson played about half the game and turned in eight points, four rebounds, five assists, two blocked shots and three steals.

Patterson rejected a couple of shots early and finished with a thundering dunk on a fast break in the early moments of the game to set the tone for Boo Williams. After he established himself in the paint, the Georgia Blazers basically abandoned any attempt to go inside and started launching threes the rest of the game.

* * *

James Anderson, an athletic 6-7 who runs the floor like a deer, had 10 points, two rebounds, three assists and a blocked shot in the Arkansas Wings' 72-46 win over the Tennessee Travelers.

Anderson has been offered by the Florida Gators. Oklahoma State and Arkansas are his leaders.

* * *

Faces in the crowd today included head coaches Jeff Capel (Oklahoma), Mark Gottfried (Alabama), Roy Williams (North Carolina), Tom Crean (Marquette), Tim O'Shea (Ohio University), Kirk Speraw (Central Florida) and Matt Doherty (SMU) along with all the usual suspects who were in attendance Wednesday.

Florida Coach Billy Donovan will be attending this evening. Donovan was in New York Wednesday night for the ESPY Awards Show. Assistants Donnie Jones and Larry Shyatt are attending the Peach Jam.

Fightin Gators Top Stories