The Right Decision

Anthony Tucker, who will transfer at the end of the school year. He made the right decision for himself.

It’s pompous and borderline arrogant to utter the words “I told you so.” Try saying it in a nasally and condescending way, and it grates on you.

With that said, I said in December it was very likely that Anthony Tucker, the troubled sophomore on the Iowa men’s basketball team, was not going to be on the team after his second brush with the law involving alcohol.  In case many Hawkeyes fans have short memories, Dan Bohall was the first one in Lickliter’s dog-house, after being found in a dorm hall, in a drunken stupor.

Tucker asked for and received his release from his scholarship from Iowa this morning and will transfer at the end of the school year.

Disciplinarian? Ya, you betcha.

Now before Lickliter gets criticized for the travails of this program, let’s give him credit.  He’s a disciplinarian, first and foremost.  If you, as a player, is not willing to get on the same page with the coach and the team, it’s not going to be pretty. When players get into some sort of trouble, either legally or within the team, each case has to be adjudicated based on the degree and severity of it.  When players are dissatisfied and voice their differences with the philosophy of the coach, that could evolve into a major issue, as in the case of 4 Iowa players leaving the team last year.

With the exception of Jake Kelly, the other three left because they wanted to play a style of basketball that allowed them to utilize their skills.  Iowa ran a different brand of basketball.

ISU coach Greg McDermott suspended Chris Colvin for walking out of the locker room after the Cyclones lost to Duke.  That suspension was to last until this month.  McDermott lifted the suspension after Lucca Staiger bidded “auf wiedersehen” and went back home to Germany to play pro ball.  Fans and critics said that McDermott “went back on his word” and Colvin should have stayed suspended.

Cyclones fans, for what it’s worth, didn’t read into the fact that all that Colvin did was “throw a temper tantrum” in the locker room.  Colvin quickly realized that it was not the proper way to handle his frustration, along with the team, on how this season has gone.  Everyone has thrown a “fit” from time to time.  Colvin apologized to McDermott and to his teammates and has worked on keeping his cool.  That was enough remorse for McDermott to cut short the suspension.

All that Chris Colvin threw was a temper tantrum. Everyone has one.

Tucker, on the other hand, was in a more serious situation.  Underage drinking has become the “crying call” for most campuses across the country.  Apparently, as some Iowa officials are working on initiatives and attempting to stop the abuse and misuse of alcohol, students under the age of 21 are going to continue getting caught for underage drinking, public intox, and worse DUI and OWI.  Much like what happened to Iowa football analyst Ed Podolak, there’s nothing wrong with having a couple of cold ones, unless you see that someone can’t control their drinking.

I wrote about Podolak and the culture of drinking on the U of I campus in 2009.

I don’t know if McDermott is more lenient in disciplining his players than Lickliter is, but you can’t fault Lick for sticking to what it’s on the books and his principles.

After the first incident, Tucker quietly worked on re-earning his place on the team and in Lick’s good graces.   That was until he was arrested again in December for public intox and allegedly assaulting a cab driver.

Regardless if Lick was going to give him a second chance, it was clear that Tucker not only needs help with staying away from alcohol until he turns 21, his presence on this team was going to be a bigger distraction than the low attendance at Carver-Hawkeye.  To accuse Lickliter, or McDermott, of running off kids is a bit premature.

In the case of Tucker, it was the right decision for both parties involved.  Tucker could not afford to be looked at as an enigma on campus, and Iowa Basketball could not afford to have this hanging on their necks like an albatross.  Losing games is already weighing them down.

Anthony Tucker need to get out of Iowa City and find a new school, not just to play basketball, but to get his penchant for booze out of his system.  It might be the only way he can save his young life from going down the drain.

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