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Bobby Gonzalez Clashes With Gary Parrish (CBS Sportswriter)

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On November 3rd, CBS Sportswriter Gary Parrish picked SHU to finish 10th in his Big East season preview:

Bobby Gonzalez has his most talented team to date, and if all goes right the Pirates could make a run at the NCAA tournament. But is it really possible that all goes right? Gonzalez has brought in gifted but questionable-character guys in Keon Lawrence (transfer from Missouri) and Herb Pope (transfer from New Mexico State), and most believe things will blow up, sooner or later. If so, Gonzalez could pay with his job. But if he can somehow blend Jeremy Hazell (22.7 ppg), Robert Mitchell (14.6 ppg and 8.0 rpg) and Eugene Harvey (12.5 ppg) with his newcomers, then this team will finish in the top half of the Big East, for certain.

Bobby Gonzalez sat down with SNY's Brian Price, prior to the Keon Lawrence incident and responded to Gary Parrish:

When I read Gary Parrish's piece I got pissed. They're not criminals and they're not thugs. It's like they're waiting for a plane crash so they can count the survivors. We haven't even played a game yet. I'm not saying my guys won't do anything foolish and that they're perfect angels, but the way Parrish writes about Herb and Keon you'd think they'd robbed a bank before we got them. You'd think they were transferring here from Attica.

In response to this week's events in South Orange / Newark, Parrish would surely respond, right? Right.

[Lawrence's] reputation has never been good in basketball circles. It just hasn't. Either way, that's a moot point now because the transfer from Missouri was charged with DUI early Monday after driving the wrong way on the Garden State Parkway and causing a wreck around 3 a.m.

On a school night.

During basketball season.

Your turn Bobby.

In all reality, I hope Gonzalez will take the high road here, refusing to continue this back-and-forth with Parrish. The CBS columnist originally stated that Coach Gonzalez brought in "questionable-character" players who may ultimately cost him his job.  Honestly, the "questionable-character" assertion was widespread this offseason as various media outlets wrote about SHU's recruitment of transfers, however, few went as far as saying they could endanger Gonzalez's career.

Earlier in the off-season, Gonzalez acknowledged that the program was taking chances on their recruits. In a story for the NY Post Gonzalez was quoted speaking on transfer Herb Pope:

[He's] a 6-foot-8 kid who can do the things that he can do, a relentless rebounder, go to the offensive glass, get you the extra shot, get you a defensive rebound. Herb Pope, if he didn't go through what he went through, he'd be at a Kansas. We wouldn't have him, because he's a high-level player. Herb Pope, we don't get him out of high school, he's a McDonald's All-American."

As he stated above, Gonzalez realizes that SHU will need to take chances with recruiting if they're expected to compete with the larger schools. I think the suggestion that his players could cost him his livelihood forced Bobby's hand in defending both his players and his job security in the interview with SNY.

Yes, Gary Parrish may have the last laugh for now, but it's a jab that Gonzalez shouldn't respond to.  The notion that any college basketball player could cost a coach his job for something done off of the court is frankly absurd.  Bobby Gonzalez is the men's basketball coach at Seton Hall University, he is not the father, or babysitter of these men.  Should they make questionable decisions off of the court, he shouldn't be held any more accountable than any other administrator at the University. These are college students, but they are adults and certainly old enough to make their own decisions.  Hopefully Gary Parrish and Bobby Gonzalez can come to terms and agree on that.  Although, I doubt these two will be coming to terms on much of anything in the near future.

Ah, Friday is almost here.  Can we play some basketball already?