Providence Suspends Two Players

Providence College announced the suspension of two men's basketball players following an assault of a fellow PC student early Monday morning.

Coming off a 12-19 campaign in which the team gave up record numbers of points, the off-season should have been a time for Friar players to finish up the semester strong academically and rededicate themselves to getting better as players. Instead, coach Keno Davis is faced with dealing with a number of personnel issues.

His initial recruiting class of seven was reduced during the season when junior Kyle Wright left the team to focus on academic studies. After the season, Davis announced that two more first year Providence players – junior Russ Permenter and freshman Johnnie Lacy – would be transferring at the end of the academic year. Permenter has already visited Lubbock Christian, an NAIA school. Lacy's situation just became much more complicated.

News began to leak midmorning on Monday that Lacy and fellow freshman James Still, were involved in the overnight assault of Yerkin Abdrakhmanov, 21, an RA at Providence and an economics major from Kazhistan. According to sources in the Providence police department, Lacy, Still and freshman Duke Mondy were arrested at Radcliffe and Chad Brown Avenue in Providence after Abdrakhmanov was found bleeding profusely from the face, on the sidewalk at Eaton Street and Huxley Avenue at 1:05 in the morning.

Mondy was questioned and released but Lacy and Still were held at the ACI. Police sources confirmed that both had been drinking and had left a party when they happened upon Abdrakhmanov.

Magistrate Joseph P. Ippoloito Jr. referred to the players as "risks to the public" and ordered them held on $10,000 bail in District Court. The players "said they were going to beat up the next male they saw," Ippolito said, reading from a police report. "The victim was just in the wrong place."

He said Abdrakhmanov suffered a broken nose and eye socket, and other injuries, and was treated in Rhode Island Hospital. "This is a serious assault - without a motive," Ippolito said.

Meanwhile, Providence College reacted swiftly and suspended both players from the school, pending its own investigation. In the past, PC has acted with deliberation and has meted out severe measures when warranted. In 2000, after the PrimeTime incident, the school dismissed two players and put several others on probation.

Rev. Kenneth Sicard, Providence College executive vice president, who referred to the incident as an "unprovoked assault," said, "They must immediately leave campus and will be prohibited from completing their academic requirements for this second semester."

"This serious and random assault violates all standards of conduct that Providence College expects of its students and is contrary to our deepest values," Sicard said. "Our thoughts and prayers are extended to the Providence College student who was injured."

While Lacy was already leaving, Still, at 6'10, certainly had a future at the school. With added weight, there is no reason not to believe that the long shot blocker couldn't have been a contributor by his junior year.

What is clear is that there must be a rededication, by both the players and the staff, to instilling discipline within the program. Experienced team leaders, such as Marshon Brooks and Bilal Dixon, must step up and lead, and the coaches have got to initiate a code of conduct that is strictly adhered to and has severe consequences if it is not. These are not the types of life-changing decisions that a program wants its student-athletes making.

No road back to winning is easy and this one just got a lot bumpier for the Friars.

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