Holt's dismissal another tough lesson for all

Indiana dismissed sophomore forward Emmitt Holt on Monday after his second alcohol-related incident in less than a year.

Indiana dismissed sophomore forward Emmitt Holt on Monday, 10 days after he and teammate Thomas Bryant were cited by police for illegal alcohol possession on campus in Bloomington.

It was Holt's second alcohol-related incident in less than 12 months. He struck then-teammate Devin Davis with a car last Halloween, leaving Davis with a traumatic brain injury. Holt was not responsible for the accident, however, because Davis ran in front of the car for a reason that remains unknown.

Holt is the third Indiana player to be dismissed from the team in just over three months. Davis and Hanner Mosquera-Perea were let go on May 14 after they were cited for possession of marijuana in a campus dorm room.

Holt's dismissal leaves the Hoosiers, once again, rather thin on the front line. Bryant, a freshman and McDonalds All-American, will now have to carry even more of the load, and Michigan transfer Max Bielfeldt also figures to log heavy minutes. Tom Crean will likely be forced to play small at times, something that worked for the Hoosiers a season ago. Don't be surprised to see Troy Williams at the 4 for extended stretches again.

But that's a discussion for another time. Even more important than the impact this has on the court is the hard lesson that comes from Holt's dismissal. The message should be clear to every player on the Indiana roster by now, but it should also open the eyes of every young athlete with aspirations of playing sports in college and beyond. If you're unclear exactly what the message is, let me translate it for you:

All of your actions matter. Somebody is always watching. There will always be people in this world that try to distract you from your goals and your dreams. There will always be people that want to take those dreams away from you. But anybody who encourages you to do things that jeopardize your dreams and your future is not your friend. Those people do not have your best interests in mind, and you must find the courage to stand up to such people and refuse to allow them to jeopardize the things you have worked so hard to earn. You could make 999 right decisions in a row, but one wrong one could ruin the very thing that you worked your entire life to achieve. Don't let that happen.

Right now, Indiana's basketball players are having a hard time hearing that message, but they must. Crean has made his position very clear: Shape up or you're gone. At the end of the day, the team and the program is far bigger than any one player. Will these Hoosiers ever learn from their former teammates' mistakes?

One can only hope so.

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