Archive for November 22nd, 2012

Sean Woods vs. Devon Atkinson

November 22nd, 2012 by AmyMac | 1 Comment | Filed in Basketball, College Sports, General

Coach Sean Woods and Morehead State senior guard Devon Atkinson

By Amy McGinnis

Wednesday’s men’s basketball game between Morehead State and Kentucky has raised some eyebrows.

With 5:51 remaining in the game, and Kentucky up by eight, Morehead State guard Devon Atkinson fouled out.  Head coach Sean Woods was less than pleased, to put it lightly.  Woods is a Kentucky alum – he played for UK from 1989 – 1992.  (If you remember NCAA basketball in 1992, you’ll recall that Kentucky was knocked out of the tournament by Duke, who would later win the championship.  The Duke – UK game that year was legendary.)  I will assume that Coach Woods was angry about losing to his alma mater in Wildcats territory.  When senior guard Atkinson left the court to approach his team’s bench, Woods unleashed his fury.  Video shows Coach Sean Woods yelling in Atkinson’s face – and when I say Woods got “in his face,” I mean he threw personal space to the wind.  As Atkins walks toward the bench, Woods approaches him a few more times, still screaming.  At one point, he gave Atkinson a shove.  People who have seen the video are calling Woods a “bully,” saying that his behavior was inexcusable.

Here’s my opinion on the matter … During the first face-to-face encounter on the video, we see the back of Atkinson’s head.  I’m not a great lip-reader, especially from behind, so I have no idea what, if anything, Atkinson said to Coach Woods.  For all I know, it could have been extremely inappropriate and disrespectful.  I’m not saying that I think that’s the case; I can’t imagine what Atkinson said.  (Incidentally, if Woods had gotten in my face like that, I would probably ask him if he’s still mad about Christian Laettner’s shot at the buzzer in overtime back in ’92.)  While I appreciate Sean Woods’s, um, passion for the game, I found the shove to be unnecessary.  NCAA basketball is different from the NBA – these players are students, and the coaches are authority figures.  Generally speaking, I’m opposed to physical aggression on the bench, because it can escalate in a heartbeat.  Not to mention, getting in Atkinson’s face once seemed sufficient to me.  Going back to scream in his face again and again looks like Woods is looking for some court-ordered anger management classes.  Get in his face, let him know you’re pissed, re-focus on the game – for shit’s sake, there was still nearly six minutes to play – and save the lecture for the locker room.

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