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College Basketball Player Suspended After ‘Vicious’ Sucker Punch To Opposing Player

@mwhiteburgh/Twitter

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.

Ouch!

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.

He tweeted:

“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.

They were skeptical that the referees didn’t see it happen.

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:

Miami Herald/@SaintLeoPres/Twitter

Senese wrote:

“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.

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.

Gabrielle Coles

Written by Gabrielle Coles

Gabrielle is a freelance writer with a B.F.A in screenwriting for film and television. She is absolutely obsessed with food, animals, and true crime. You can support her love for all things culinary by following her food blog on Instagram, @bread.is.good.