Archive for December 18th, 2008

HOOPS: From bad to worse

December 18, 2008

Looks like a season-ender for Chris Warren. He went to the floor in the final seconds and grabbed his left knee in obvious pain. An MRI will be performed Friday, but the early thought is that it is a torn ACL, the third for Ole Miss this season.

— PA

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Cab Driver has press conference

December 18, 2008

Mississippi Coach Arrested Basketball
Cab driver Mohamed Moctar Ould Jiddou shows where he was allegedly punched by Mississippi men’s basketball coach Andy Kennedy, during a news conference at his home, Thursday, Dec. 18, 2008 in Villa Hills, Ky. Police arrested Kennedy early Thursday after the cab driver said the coach punched him while calling him “bin Laden” and other racial insults. (AP Photo/David Kohl)

From The AP story on cab driver’s press conference …

The complaint filed in Municipal Court alleges that Kennedy assaulted Mohamed Moctar Ould Jiddou and “punched victim with a closed fist while shouting racial slurs.” Kennedy, 40, was arrested at 1:15 a.m., police documents show.

Police subsequently arrested Bill Armstrong, director of operations for the basketball team, on a charge of disorderly conduct. Armstong, 31, was intoxicated and had been ejected from the Lodge Bar Cincinnati downtown, and had continued taunting the taxi driver, the police report stated. His pretrial hearing was also set for Jan. 16.

A message was left with the bar’s manager.

Jiddou, a 25-year-old native of the northwest Africa country of Mauritania, told reporters that the altercation broke out after Kennedy hailed him and then asked him to pick up his friends. When four other people tried to get in, Jiddou said, he told them he couldn’t take that many because he only had four seat belts.

Jiddou said Kennedy then began yelling, cussing him and calling him “bin Laden, Saddam Hussein,” and hit him in the face. Police said the left side of Jiddou’s face was swollen; at his northern Kentucky home more than 12 hours later, he had no apparent injuries and said he wasn’t hurt physically but was upset to be compared to the terrorist leader.

“(Osama) bin Laden killed 3,000 people in this country. I never hurt no one,” Jiddou said. “How can he tell me that? I’m working hard. I don’t want to hear anything like that.”

He said he didn’t know who Kennedy was until a police officer told him hours after the arrest.

Rusty O’Brien, a Louisville, Ky., attorney, said Jiddou is a legal resident of the United States. Jiddou said he has been in this country for seven years. O’Brien met with Jiddou on Thursday to discuss his legal options.

KENNEDY: Can’t speak today

December 18, 2008

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Andy Kennedy booking photo above.

10:07
Can it get worse? Always. Rebels trailing 77-68 at 28.3 seconds, but the story is Warren was just carried off the floor by medical staff and Huertas in obvious pain favoring his left knee after hitting the floor.

9:38
I see Matt dissing me down there for not giving updates when the Rebels are doing well. Fact is Brad has been using my laptop since he spilled water in his. Rebels down 58-53 10:06 left. Doing it with defense right now. Wouldn’t it be interesting if Kennedy’s darkest day at Ole Miss turned out to be his biggest win.

8:35
It’s 33-18 Louisville here. Inability to rebound and grab loose balls is killing the Rebels.

On a side note, Ole Miss football players received gifts from the Cotton Bowl today — 32-inch Vizio HD TVs.

Still no word on the availability of senior guard Maurice Miller. Houston Nutt remains optimistic.

7:59
Kennedy walks out with the team this time. Very little reaction. The place is like a Louisville home game. One or two Cincinnati fans yelled “Andy, Andy.” The rest have gone home. Kennedy’s in a pinstripe suits. He appears to be receiving a few words of encouragement for the officials. Maybe they’ll have some sympathy during the game as well.

7:51
It’s about 10 minutes to tip here. The Rebels have been on the court warming up for several minutes. No sign of Kennedy, though we were told he would coach the game. Bill Armstrong was with the team in warm-ups, as were the other assistant coaches. Team is going back into the locker room now.

7:17
If you’ve got a radio nearby Kennedy will address his arrest in some short capacity in a pre-game interview with David Kellum. There’s about 3 minutes left in State’s game right now, and Cincinnati is leading 70-59.

The wireless service here is weak, and game updates will be few and brief.

4:49
At the arena now. Boone seems pretty confident that Kennedy will be cleared when all the facts are known.

There’s been no mention of Armstrong’s future.

1:20
Kennedy, Boone statement. Boone expects Kennedy to be cleared of all charges “once all the facts are known.”

1 p.m.
Brad obtained copies of the arrest reports. No surprises in them. The arresting officer’s account says Kennedy punched the victim with a closed fist while using racial slurs. There was a third-party unrelated witness.

Bill Armstrong’s report says he was “ejected” from a local bar and was also involved in an altercation with the taxi driver. The report says Armstrong taunted and continued to taunt the taxi driver after Armstrong was arrested. The officer says Armstrong’s conduct was “likely to cause a violent response.”

Still awaiting a university response.

I’m hearing Kennedy will coach tonight, as a player said earlier, and that something will be told about his interpretation of events later.

11:53
Just spoke with Pete in the lobby. He had no comment other than to say that an official statement is coming.

Pete was here yesterday and did not come up this morning only after hearing of the incident.

It looked like he was coming from the workout room, which is where I need to be. I missed my walk this morning.

11:40
The team has left for the shootaround. There has been an update meeting with the players.

A player I spoke with believes Kennedy will coach tonight.

An official university news release is in the hands of the chancellor and is being reviewed by the university attorney. It could be a couple of hours before it is released.

There has been no change to the days’ schedule relative to the shootaround, meals and meetings.

Kennedy and Armstrong weren’t the only members of the staff to go out last night. A group larger than two left the hotel at about 9:30.

Pete Boone has not returned calls.

11:10 a.m.
I just spoke with Andy Kennedy in the lobby. He has hired an attorney and has been advised not to speak.

“I just can’t. That’s what the attorneys are saying. There will be a time to speak, but today’s not it.”

Kennedy was wearing an Ole Miss warm-up suit and a baseball cap. I guess the meeting is over, but I haven’t seen or heard from Pete or media relations yet.

Brad Locke is here with me. His plans for covering State’s shoot-around have been squashed. He’s gone across the river to try and secure a copy of the arrest report.

Here’s the link to the local story, which reports Bill Armstrong, basketball operations, was with Kennedy.

10:30ish
Armstrong has been walking around the lobby of the hotel talking on a cell phone.

I’ve seen a few other Ole Miss folks … former star Gerald Glass, now a manager while he finishes his degree, and broadcaster David Kellum.

— PA

KENNEDY UPDATE

December 18, 2008

Right now it is expected that Andy Kennedy will coach Ole Miss tonight against No. 9 Louisville.

I have not been about to reach a university official for anything other than I was told about an hour ago. At that time Kennedy and Pete Boone were meeting, and an official statement from the university is expected to follow.

I’ve been able to reach no one from media relations for an update.

I am in the lobby of the team hotel, and the Rebels are still scheduled for a 1 p.m. shootaround at US Bank Arena.

On the surface nothing has changed, or at least nothing that anyone is talking about.

— PA

Kennedy, Boone meeting now

December 18, 2008

Ole Miss athletics director Pete Boone and basketball coach Andy Kennedy are meeting right now, presumably at the team hotel across the river in northern Kentucky. An official statement will follow.

— PA

REPORT: Kennedy arrested

December 18, 2008

It looks like Ole Miss basketball coach Andy Kennedy has gotten in trouble in his return to Cincinnati. The report says he punched a “victim” while using racial slurs. We’re checking it out.

— PA

FOOTBALL: Waiting on Miller

December 18, 2008

I spoke with offensive line coach Mike Markuson a few minutes ago. He’s optimistic that senior guard Maurice Miller will play, but it’s not a given.

It’s uncertain when an official word will come down, but it has to be soon.

Overall, Markuson has been very pleased with his offensive line. He wasn’t so sure his guys would reach this point after his first look at everybody.

“To be honest, after the spring we were really discouraged. After evaluating 15 practices we wondered if we’d made any progress. We knew we had a lot of work to do.”

Now that line includes a first-team AP All-American in tackle Michael Oher. Tackle John Jerry is a second-team All-SEC pick.

Markuson says the two key differences were the players beginning to believe in the staff, and their work in the weight room with coach Don Decker.

— PA

FYI: Live from Cincinnati

December 18, 2008

Somewhat live anyway. It’s 12:27 eastern time, way past my bedtime. The trip was longer than it needed to be with a detour on the Trace, wet and slow roads with lots of trucks then a wreck outside of Nashville that cost us 30 or 40 minutes.

We’re here, and so are the Rebels and Bulldogs. They’re staying in the same hotel in Northern Kentucky, and they’ll be in the same arena tonight. That will present a scouting opportunity for each team.

We listened to the Mick Cronin Show driving into town. He’s the Cincinnati coach who was hired just about the same day Andy Kennedy was hired at Ole Miss. Kennedy was UC’s interim coach but wasn’t entertained as a serious candidate for the permanent job.

Cronin and the Bearcats have lost twice and have had some injuries at point guard this season. They’ll take on State at 5:30.

No injuries for No. 9 Louisville, who the Rebels will face at 8. The Cards are 6-1.

Looking at football, there’s no final word on the eligibility of senior guard Maurice Miller. He practiced Wednesday, and Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt is optimistic that he’ll play in the Cotton Bowl, but that is still TBA.

— PA