Tyler Smith Dismissed From TennesseePosted by rtmsf on January 8th, 2010
The first shoe dropped today in the Tennessee basketball players New Year’s Day fiasco, as star forward Tyler Smith was dismissed from the Tennessee basketball team in a statement released by Bruce Pearl:
We felt we had enough information at this time to dismiss Tyler Smith from the team. I am deeply troubled and saddened. Playing basketball at the University of Tennessee is a privilege, and where conduct is displayed that is detrimental to the team and the university, this discipline is required. Tyler has accomplished a great deal and we are all disappointed his playing career at the University of Tennessee will end this way.
The three other players involved in the incident — Melvin Goins, Brian Williams and Cameron Tatum — remain indefinitely suspended as #1 Kansas visits Knoxville this weekend. The twitterati and message board chatter yesterday implied that this decision was coming, as allegedly Smith was found to be the owner of the two guns found in the rental car where the four players were riding.
This is obviously a huge blow to the Tennessee team this year as well as to Bruce Pearl’s program in general. Smith was generally viewed as a success story around the SEC, as the local kid had returned home from Iowa after his freshman year to be with his sick father and help Pearl rebuild the UT program. He was all-SEC first team as a sophomore and junior, and helped lead UT to its second straight Sweet Sixteen in 2008 for the first time in program history. Furthermore, the perception that Pearl only has loose control of his players is exacerbated by this situation, and it may ultimately impact his recruiting to Knoxville.
Smith, to his credit, said in a statement that he’s only a dozen hours short of his degree and he intends on finishing it, but what on earth was he thinking here? If he really feels such imminent danger on a daily basis that he needs to have not one, but two, weapons near him at all times, then it’s probably for the best that he’s no longer staining Tennessee athletics with whatever he’s involved in; but if he’s just trying to act hard by brandishing guns in a way that really isn’t necessary given his lifestyle and status as a star UT athlete, then he may want to give Gilbert Arenas a text to see how that’s working out for him these days.