As if things weren’t already hot enough in Texas this summer, something boiled over at UTEP yesterday as rising senior guard Myron Strong was dismissed from the basketball team by head coach Tim Floyd for, in Strong’s words, “violating dorm rules.” When Strong communicated with the UTEP blog Miner Rush later on Thursday, though, he mentioned something else that might have had something to do with it:
The coaching in college isn’t fair to me. You know the coaches are gonna bring in who they want to bring in. I only failed one drug test at UTEP. The first couple days Tim Floyd came to UTEP he tested our squad and the majority of the team failed.
The website pressed him on this issue, and Strong continued his harangue:
As far as the drug test, I’m not giving any names but if I got kicked out because of that, that’s just plain out wrong because I wasn’t the only person who failed. He wanted me out so he did anything in his power to do so. My senior year at that. I never wanted to leave UTEP and plus I failed a drug test months ago, so why am I now all of a sudden off the team? I don’t get Tim Floyd at all. He’s trying to basically ruin my image…
Strong, who averaged 2.9 PPG, 1.5 RPG and 2.0 APG in 13.3 minutes per game last season as a transfer from the University of San Francisco, continued to slam Floyd and the UTEP staff in that discussion, claiming that Arnett Moutrie and Derrick Caracter were pressured not to even consider testing the NBA waters or they “would not have a scholarship,” and that college coaches “preach to us to do the right thing but they’re the ones breaking all the rules.” We don’t want to just repeat the whole story from Miner Rush, so go check out the link above after you’re done here. The blog notes at the end that they’ve asked the UTEP athletic department for a comment but had received nothing.
Unfortunately, that’s not the end of this. Taking a page out of J.R. Inman’s book, Strong brought up on his Facebook page the relationship between Floyd and former USC guard O.J. Mayo, writing (among other things), “I’m hearing [Floyd] had a fake charity event to pay OJ Mayo $100,000 to play for him. How did the ncaa [sic] let that slide?”
UTEP has been all but silent on the matter, offering little comment other than to say that Strong was dismissed. But Memphis Commercial-Appeal writer Dan Wolken tweeted yesterday that he had spoken with Floyd, who confirmed that the dismissal was due to the failed drug test.
Strong will attempt to play next season at either Azusa Pacific University in suburban Los Angeles or Victory University in Memphis, according to his comments to Miner Rush. A comparatively minor (no homophonic pun intended) contributor in the UTEP system, Strong’s ouster nevertheless leaves Tim Floyd with only two returning officially-listed guards who played more than three minutes a game last season, specifically scoring leader Culpepper (17.9 PPG in 33.3 minutes) and fellow senior Christian Polk (9.3 PPG in 24.6 minutes), though junior forward Julyan Stone (6.1 PPG in 30.8 minutes) spent some time at both guard and forward last year. With Derrick Caracter now a Laker, Arnett Moultrie’s transfer, and now Strong’s removal, Tim Floyd has a team to rebuild, let alone an image that needed repair long before Strong took his complaints to various public forums.