Flying elbows out of control
February, 8, 2009
By Jay Bilas | ESPN.com
I cannot get over the number of purposeful and intentional elbows that have been thrown this season. Swinging an elbow is not toughness; it is not competitiveness; it does not demonstrate a will to win. It is an affront to sportsmanship. Everyone is subject to getting a little frustrated and reacting negatively. It can happen. But when elbows are thrown purposefully, that is a problem.
Just this weekend, after a week in which Michigan had two players ejected and a national debate on the topic, it was "Elbow-Palooza" on Saturday. DeQuan Jones of Miami was ejected for elbowing a Duke player. Devan Dumes of Indiana threw three elbows against Michigan State and was suspended for it by Tom Crean on Sunday. Hasheem Thabeet of UConn was whistled for throwing an elbow into a Michigan player. And those were just the ones that were easily identifiable. When the Michigan elbow incidents were discussed, I went out of my way to preface my pointed comments that Manny Harris is a great kid, and he is. But after this weekend, I started thinking, so what? Great kid or not, these elbow incidents are flat wrong and there is no place in the game for it. John Adams, the NCAA supervisor of officials, has been right on top of the matter, but he cannot do it alone. Conference commissioners need to step in and police the matter within their own leagues. And if you think this is much ado about nothing, Purdue's Lewis Jackson missed a game with a concussion and Chris Kramer is wearing a mask and looking at two surgeries to repair the damage.