BASKETBALL: 'Cats sound off on Pacer/Piston brawl

With the National Basketball Association considered the pinnacle for 'dreaming' basketball stars like Chuck Hayes and Patrick Sparks, last Friday's shocking event has put a blackeye on the sport. Tubby Smith, along with Hayes and Sparks, sounded off on the matter.

"With a number of our players in the league now, of course, that's something you never want to see at any level," Smith said. "We worry about it at this level after having watched the South Carolina-Clemson football game. That's one of the things (Clemson Football Coach) Tommy Bowden said he had just talked about." "I talked to our guys about it Saturday morning before our game," Smith said. "Everyone has mixed emotions about who is at fault, but it's not good for sports. It's especially not good for basketball, whether it's NBA, college or high school, because kids watch that.

The Wildcat basketball coach stated he had never witnessed such a tragic circumstance in a basketball game - and he took it upon himself to make sure the Wildcat players would not be involved in similar circumstances.

"We have to be constantly vigil about letting them know to play the game the right away," Smith emphasized. "They need to play with good sportsmanship, value the game and play with integrity. That's something we stress all the time."

The players, in retrospect, shared in the same shock that many of us fans experienced when we first witnessed the events.

"I was shocked to see something like that happen," Sparks said. "Everywhere you go lately, everyone is talking about it."

Senior All-American, Chuck Hayes echoed his fellow captain.

"Wow, I couldn't believe it," Hayes said. "When I first heard I was wondering if Tay (Tayshaun Prince) was involved. Obviously he is smart enough not to get involved.

"It's crazy," the power forward continued. "I feel bad for the game, period."


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