A cheap shot taken during a home game has earned a basketball player for St. Leo University, Florida a suspension for the rest of the year.
The player, Isaiah Hill, sucker punched/elbowed an opposing player during a December 7 game against Nova Southeastern University.
Official’s somehow missed the aggressive move.
Hill’s victim, NSU junior Nick Smith, immediately fell to the ground in pain. Yet, the game continued on as the baseline official failed to notice the violent act.
Smith was nearly trampled by other players before getting back up.
Though the refs missed the illegal contact, the internet did not.
Sports Writer Mike White tweeted a video of the attack.
It’s NCAA Div. 2 game in Florida. But I bring it up because it’s surreal & former WPIAL standout Nick Smith is on the end of one of the most horrific cheap shots you’ll ever see. Also surreal official standing right next to it & nothing happens to this Saint Leo’s U. player. pic.twitter.com/Tv1ygleVOO— Mike White (@mwhiteburgh) December 8, 2019
In the video, Hill runs along side Smith during a play, when Hill suddenly uses his elbow to jab Smith in the face.
As Smith hits the ground, Hill quickly runs away, with no fouls being called.
White likened it to an incident during a 1977 NBA game, when the Lakers’ Kermit Washington brutally punched Houston Rockets player Rudy Tomjanovich.
The Worst Punch in NBA History:— The Truth Hurts (@NBATruthHurts) November 18, 2019
In 1977, Kermit Washington punched Rudy Tomjanovich during an on court fight.
The blow shattered Rudy’s jaw, face and caused spinal fluid to leak into his brain cavity. A very life threatening injury.
Both careers & lives were effected massively pic.twitter.com/NAioQdhwH4
“Dating myself here but right away this reminded me of 1977 NBA game and the infamous Kermit Washington (Lakers) punch that destroyed face of Houston Rockets Rudy Tomjanovich. Go look at video of that one. It’s similar. Nick Smith could’ve been seriously injured.”
People were appalled by the lack of reaction from officials.
All three officials should be fired. If one of the three didn’t see it, that’s the main reason all three should be gone.
— Bruce J. Emswiler (@BruceJEmswiler) December 8, 2019
That is unbelievable the ref was looking right at it wow disgusting play
— Michael Claus (@MichaelClaus4) December 8, 2019
And no call- ridiculous all 3 officials should be suspended
— jeffrey Kauffman (@jcaakauff) December 8, 2019
2 refs in position to see that. Should’ve been an automatic ejection and probably a one game suspension.
— M**** (@msw_sports) December 9, 2019
I wouldn’t oppose a longer suspension but I also don’t know what is the standard for something that blatant.
— M**** (@msw_sports) December 10, 2019
I agree 110% with you Mike, that maybe the cheapest shot ever taken. That guy shouldn’t play another game this year. Both officials are in the screen and need to be called by the league to explain why that player was not called for a flagrant foul & was not ejected from the game.
— Murph (@Murph150) December 9, 2019
They were skeptical that the referees didn’t see it happen.
The refs be like….. pic.twitter.com/42hY3ocZ2O
— Chad (@ChadBlue_) December 9, 2019
Ref right there. No way he doesn’t see that.
— Michael Fabus (@mikefabus) December 8, 2019
Which official. Both in screen should have seen the illegal contact.
— Mister Vegas 🏀🎲🎸👨👩👧👧✝️🇺🇸🚂 (@mwilliams2469) December 9, 2019
Hill, a senior guard on the team, was suspended the following Monday.
St. Leo’s head basketball coach Lance Randall, issued the suspension after the incident went viral. Hill will be barred from participating in games for the rest of 2019.
School officials are adamant that Hill’s behavior does not represent the values of St. Leo college or its team.
In a statement reported by WFLA, St. Leo’s Vice President and Director of Athletics Fran Reidy said:
“St. Leo University holds its students to high standards of moral and ethical conduct as a reflection of its Benedictine values. Upon review of Isaiah’s actions this past Saturday, he will not represent St. Leo University in competition for the remainder of 2019.”
St. Leo President Jeffrey Senese also issued a statement, agreeing with Hill’s suspension:
“I support the decision of our coach and athletics administration. This type of conduct will not be tolerated. I am saddened by this event as this behavior does not reflect who we are at St. Leo University and apologize for any comments that suggest otherwise.”
However, Senese had a very different attitude in a now deleted Tweet:
“Posting one out of context video when your team violently fouls takes constant cheap shots and disrespects you in an unsportsmanlike manner every minute of the game is cowardly and weak!”
People who saw it were not impressed.
— Matt Golein (@UPSman1560) December 12, 2019
@SaintLeoPres You try and justify that “one post out of context” is sick. No context needed for a sucker punch! President? Really?
— robertmc (@Marr_Land) December 11, 2019
Actually, he tweeted some BS about the video being out of context.
— central80 (@riggs801) December 10, 2019
NSU’s basketball coach Jim Crutchfield was disappointed by Senese’s statement, and told Miami Herald:
“I felt like [Senese] had no good sense of right and wrong and the fact that he’s a college president is almost shocking.”
Nick Smith did not suffer any major injuries from the incident.
A representative for NSU told WFLA that despite the painful hit, Smith actually stayed in the game and played until its end.