Saturday, January 2, 2010
Pearl apologizes to fans, Summitt
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl apologized on Saturday to fans and fellow coach Pat Summitt for the arrests of four members of the 14th-ranked men's basketball team.
Senior forward Tyler Smith, sophomore guard Cameron Tatum, junior center Brian Williams and junior point guard Melvin Goins are facing misdemeanor drug, gun and alcohol charges. Knoxville police arrested the four Friday after stopping the car they were in for speeding.
Pearl says he's phoned the parents of all his players and even texted Lady Volunteers coach Pat Summitt to apologize if his team has tarnished the good image she's worked to build.
"This is tough. This is so hard because we've worked so hard to try to do the right things," Pearl said.
The four players are indefinitely suspended, and Pearl says dismissal could be an option once he has more information about the incident.
According to a police report, officers smelled marijuana coming from the car and found a handgun with an altered serial number, a bag of marijuana and an open container of alcohol. Tatum was driving the car, which Pearl said was a rental borrowed from one of the player's friends.
Officers could not determine whether any of the players were under the influence of marijuana, though the strong odor suggested marijuana had recently been smoked in the car, the police report said.
Knoxville attorney Don Bosch said he was representing Smith but declined comment. Bosch recently represented Tennessee football player Janzen Jackson, who was charged with two teammates in a Nov. 12 armed robbery. All charges against Jackson were eventually dropped.
Smith averages 26.8 minutes per game -- the most of those arrested -- and is averaging 11.7 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. He leads the team with 44 assists this season.
Tatum has started six games this season and averages 8.7 points in 19.6 minutes of play per game. Goins averages 6.1 points and 2.2 rebounds in 16.3 minutes per game, while Williams averages 5.4 points and 5.6 rebounds in 16.7 minutes per game.
The Vols (10-2) won at Memphis 66-59 on Thursday afternoon and face Charlotte in Knoxville on Wednesday.