According to College Basketball Insider Jon Rothstein, Senior guards Jamel Jackson and Keon Lawrence were dismissed from the team this morning, effective immediately. The news comes just hours before the team's matchup with Rutgers in New Brunswick.
As per the announcement from the team, the dismissal of the two players comes after "a violation of team rules and an ongoing pattern of conduct unbecoming of a representative of Seton Hall athletics."
For many Pirate fans, the decision to let Keon Lawrence go his separate ways has been a long time coming after being involved in several different incidents, including the infamous drunk driving fiasco and a fist fight in the school cafeteria. As for Jamel Jackson, a black cloud hovered over the three point specialist this year as well, as it was rumored that he wanted to leave the team several times over the past few weeks.
Another interesting note last night came from the unlikeliest of sources: Robert Mitchell. The original rogue Pirate's Facebook status read "Congrats to St. John's on their run so far...F*ck Kevin Willard." After several comments on the status, Mitchell noted "That's for my man Mel Jack" who we can assume is Jamel Jackson. It caught me by surprise but now it makes much more sense. I assume Jackson and Lawrence were notified late last night and the press learned of it this morning.
I can't say that I'm surprised by either of these dismissals.
Jackson's unhappiness has been out there for all to see over the past few weeks as he reportedly threatened to leave the team on a few occasions. He was in Kevin Willard's doghouse for a good portion of the season. I can't even remember the last time he saw the court.
Lawrence's situation is a more obvious case of pent up frustration from the team, I'm sure. As previously mentioned, after driving drunk the wrong way on a major highway, injuring another driver, and fist fighting a teammate in the school cafeteria, Keon Lawrence's career at Seton Hall since transferring from Missouri has been marred with discontent. Despite all this, he was given numerous chances to try and correct his situation and he didn't. His play, while at (few) times was impressive, is a far cry from his days in Columbia, Missouri with Coach Mike Anderson.
Keon Lawrence and Jamel Jackson are the second and third Pirates to leave the team this year, following the transfer of Ferrakohn Hall to Memphis.
I mentioned a few weeks ago on WSOU's Pirate Primetime that I believed the only way to move on from the debacle filled Bobby Gonzalez era was to allow Gonzo's recruits and transfers to graduate, and this is a step in that progressive direction.
Update at 3:40 PM: According to Brendan Prunty, Keon Lawrence's high school coach Alif Muhammad said Keon was dismissed because he broke curfew. The coach also noted that he was behind Kevin Willard's decision.
Breaking curfew is a minor offense for most coaches, but when your minor offense is preceded by several major offenses, I guess you lose the right to be given the benefit of the doubt. This is shaping up to be more and more like a case of frustration on the end of the coaching staff. Can you blame them?