Utah Utes men's basketball notebook: NCAA rule mandated Henderson's suspension
Tom Smart, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — The first thing coach Jim Boylen addressed at Monday's press conference was Saturday night's incident involving Marshall Henderson.
Boylen said he and athletic director Chris Hill decided it was appropriate to suspend Henderson for a game, but that Henderson was already automatically suspended for a game for hitting BYU's Jackson Emery with 34 seconds left in the game.
"Marshall Henderson has been suspended per NCAA rules for what is considered fighting, although we don't think it was a fight," Boylen said. "But that's the rule."
According to Rule 4, Section 26, Article 2, "A fight is a confrontation involving one or more players ... wherein (but not limited to) a fist, hand, arm, foot, knee or leg is used to combatively strike the other individual."
Also, the officials at the game ejected Henderson for fighting and apparently reported it as such following the game. The NCAA rules clearly state that a player is suspended for anything that is considered a fight.
Rule 10, Section 7, Article 2 states: "The first time an individual participates in a fight during the season ... the individual shall be suspended from participating in the team's next regular-season game."
According to Article 3, a second fight results in banishment for the rest of the season.
Boylen doesn't expect it to happen again.
"He made a mistake and he knows it," Boylen said. "We're very supportive of Marshall. He's our guy. I'm proud of what he's done so far on the season. He's going to learn from it and grow."
While Henderson was available to the press after Monday's practice, he wasn't allowed to speak about Saturday's incident, nor were his teammates.
WHEN IT RAINS IT POURS: The Utes already have 15 games missed by players due to injury, illness or personal leave.
Jay Watkins sat out with injuries and missed games because of his step-father's death, Kim Tillie and David Foster have both been injured and Jason Washburn has been injured and ill — missing Saturday's game due to a viral flu and missed practice again Monday.
Also Luka Drca missed Monday's practice because of spasms in his back. At this point, Boylen doesn't know about the availability of Washburn and Drca for Wednesday night's game with Colorado State.
Boylen said freshman Chris Hines and sophomore Jordan Cyphers will both be ready to fill in for Henderson as well as Drca, if he's not available.
Hines has played in 17 games and averaged 1.7 points in 5.2 minutes, while Cyphers has played in 16 games and averaged 2.9 points in 8.4 minutes.
QUOTABLE: "We're looking for consistency — consistency in having bodies, consistency in our rotations, consistency in our ability to start games," said Boylen. "That's very important as we build this program."
WATKINS STARTING: The Utes tried their fifth starting lineup of the season Saturday night, using Jay Watkins as a starter for the first time all year and also starting Carlon Brown for the first time in over a month.
Although it didn't help the Utes get off to a quicker start, Watkins was the Utes' best player with career highs of 17 points and 11 rebounds in a season-high 34 minutes.
Boylen answered yes when asked if Watkins would start again this week, but said he wasn't sure of his entire starting lineup yet.
UTE NOTES: The Utes close the first half of the Mountain West Conference season Wednesday night with a home game against Colorado State at 6 p.m. Then the Utes have a rare Saturday night off before heading back on the road to play at TCU on Feb. 10 ... Foster is still fourth in the nation in blocked shots with 4.3 per game. With 86 on the season, he's just six blocks behind Luke Nevill's season school record set last year ... Utah leads the MWC in blocked shots and is 11th in the nation. The Utes are also 23rd in the nation in free throw percentage and 39th in 3-point defense.
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