Utah Jazz notebook: Jazz players appalled by actions of ex-Rutgers coach Mike Rice
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Jazz players were stunned when watching the viral video that emerged from Rutgers basketball practices.
Suffice it to say, they weren't impressed with the coaching antics that led to Mike Rice being fired this past week.
As millions have now seen, Rice's damning display included yelling offensive remarks at his Scarlet Knights, pushing them, throwing basketballs at them and even kicking one player.
"It was pretty shocking to see," Jazz swingman Gordon Hayward said. "Thankfully my college coach (Butler's Brad Stevens) wasn't anything like that."
Rice's habitual hostility, which came to light this past week when the video was released, also led to the resignation of Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti.
New Jersey native Randy Foye, who'd considered playing for Rutgers before choosing Villanova, was upset when he saw the video.
"You can't do that. That's a senseless act. That's a disgrace for a coach," Foye said. "You can't put your hands on players. You can't throw balls at players. You can't put your feet on players or even with the verbal abuse, you can't do that."
Jazz guard Mo Williams thinks it's fortunate Rice's actions didn't escalate.
"It's amazing that no player retaliated. I was amazed by that," said the former Alabama player. "I think that shows a lot of character from the players' standpoint from the team because that's a lot of abuse from a coach. I've played this game for a long time and I've never experienced that or even seen it."
Foye has scrimmaged with some of the Rutgers players while back in New Jersey during the offseason, so it felt even more personal to him.
"No coach should do that. No coach should feel as though they have the authority to put their hands on players," Foye said. "They shouldn't feel as though they have the authority to even say certain things to players."
That's not to say discipline can't or shouldn't happen, of course. But Foye said it has to be appropriate.
"I feel as though you should coach them hard. If they're not doing what they're supposed to do you can make them run," he said. "There's a lot of other things you can make a player do for punishment other than putting your hands on them."
Some examples, he said, include doing suicide drills. Or running stairs "until they puke," he added.
"My coach was more like, 'All right, you don't want to play hard in the game, well, practice is going to be even harder,'" Foye said. "Mess up on drill, you're going to run. He never put his hands (on us) or threw a ball. As soon as he was done, he built us right back up. Even before practice was over, he built us up within the practice."
FORTY AGAIN: The Jazz improved their record to 40-37 with the 95-83 win over New Orleans on Friday.
Interestingly, this is the first time the Jazz have hit the 40-win mark in three years.
In last year's lockout-shortened season, Utah went 36-30. The Jazz finished 39-43 after losing 20 of their final 28 games following the midseason resignation of Jerry Sloan and the Deron Williams trade in 2011.
The Jazz's last 40-victory season came in 2009-10 when Williams and Carlos Boozer led Utah to a 53-29 campaign.
MCNEAL DEAL: D-League call-up Jerel McNeal was made active again Friday, the final day of his 10-day contract. The Jazz didn't announce whether they'll retain the combo guard for the remainder of the season.
It's possible the Jazz will want to keep him around because of a slew of health issues, including Alec Burks (sprained left ankle), Jamaal Tinsley (bruised lower back), Marvin Williams (right heel tendinitis) and Enes Kanter (dislocated left shoulder).
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