It affected Chimezie briefly, but our compliance staff and administration did a terrific job of quickly investigating, and they are very confident Chimezie did nothing in this instance. He’s cleared to play, and there are no potential NCAA violations. —USC coach Andy Enfield
SALT LAKE CITY — When the Utah and USC basketball teams squared off Saturday afternoon in a battle for second place in the Pac-12 standings, it featured a pair of schools whose names were among the two-dozen or so associated with reports the day before about possible improprieties involving college basketball teams and players.
Utah’s case involved Kyle Kuzma, who supposedly received $9,500 from an agent while he was at Utah, while USC’s concerned two current players, Chimezie Metu and Bennie Boatwright, whose “advisors” allegedly received cash advances in behalf of the players.
Both coaches claimed the revelations in a Yahoo Sports report the previous day didn’t affect their teams going into Saturday’s game, which was won by USC 74-58.
“It really hasn’t affected the team at all,” USC coach Andy Enfield told the Pac-12 Network before the game. “It affected Chimezie briefly, but our compliance staff and administration did a terrific job of quickly investigating, and they are very confident Chimezie did nothing in this instance. He’s cleared to play, and there are no potential NCAA violations.”
Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak had issued a brief statement the day before, saying it was the first he’d heard about the allegations against Kuzma.
“It didn’t affect us at all,” he said. “I made a statement yesterday, and I focused on our team. I’m not worried about who’s going to be interviewing me or investigating me.”
Krystkowiak went on to say that he was mostly upset that Utah’s name got dragged in with other schools with more serious allegations.
“What I was disappointed about, was seeing the drum and feather (Utah logo) on ESPN,” he said. “That pisses me off. Because there’s nothing NCAA-wise illegal within our program. With the system, if there’s ever a time for a fix, it’s now.”
Besides Chimezie, the other USC player named in stories was Bennie Boatwright, who is out for the year with an injury.
Last fall, USC assistant coach Tony Bland's name came up along with three other assistant coaches, who were accused of receiving bribes in an FBI investigation. Bland was put on administrative leave in September, pleaded not guilty in November to charges related to the bribery, and was fired in January.
TECHNICALLY SPEAKING: There were four technical fouls called in Saturday’s game, two on each team.
The first came at the 7:27 mark of the second half after the Trojans had scored six straight points to push the lead to 61-49. Krystkowiak gave official Glen Mayberry an earful about David Collette apparently getting fouled on consecutive trips to the basket, but he wasn’t whistled with a T until a few seconds later after Mayberry had walked to the opposite sideline and a clipboard went flying across the floor.
So what happened, coach?
“I was mad at Scotty, our film guy, because he was sticking the clipboard in my face and I wasn’t done melting down, and I karate-chopped it.”
Then with 2:10 left, Utah’s Chris Seeley and USC’s Charles O’Bannon Jr. each got technicals after a brief dustup in the lane near the Trojans’ basket.
The last technical was the strangest of all. The Trojans were dribbling out the clock in the final seconds, when Kurt Karis, who had played a grand total of 16 minutes all season and had just entered the game, was whistled with a technical with just 3.1 seconds left apparently for saying something to the official.
UTE NOTES: Ute guard Sedrick Barefield missed his second straight game with apparent rib injuries Jayce Johnson, who had played sparingly the past game after sitting out the Washington State game last week with a foot injury, played just three minutes and got one rebound The Utes play Colorado in the regular-season finale Saturday at 5 p.m.