Yesterdays news that Cincinnati Bearcats Wide Receiver recruit/Woodland Hills multi sport star Shakim Alonzo was involved in an on court altercation came out of no where. I have not heard much in the way even remotely controversial in the past about Alonzo. However I fully admit to not being 100 per cent on top of Alonzo's back story. Regardless, what I feel to be the definitive narrative of the events has come to light.
The contest turned ugly when, with Peters Township leading 52-44 and 3:38 remaining, Alonzo was called for an intentional foul away from the ball and immediately ejected.
"The referees said the initial ejection was for throwing an intentional elbow," Goga explained. "I'm not sure because I didn't have a clear line of vision on it."
Alonzo, a University of Cincinnati recruit, had to be restrained by his mother, who ran onto the court, and Woodland Hills head coach Mike Decker. Meanwhile, players from each team began going nose-to-nose at midcourt before the coaching staffs could attempt to restore order.
Alonzo then broke free of Decker's grasp, sprinted from near the foul line across midcourt and landed a punch to the side of the head of Pritz, who didn't see Alonzo approaching.
The events are clearer now. In terms of what transpired and the order of events. But the why remains elusive.
Two narratives are being floated by WTAE TV in Pittsburgh.
Some witnesses said Alonzo was upset about a foul call, while others said Alonzo was upset about allegedly hearing a racial slur directed at him during the game.
I am still at a loss to explain how or why this happened, as is his coach apparently.
"What I saw was a guy out of control and I'm going to leave it at that," Woodland Hills coachsaid. "I'm completely embarrassed by the situation. That's not the way I coach and that's not the image I want my team to portray."
Of the two theories floated by witnesses the second fits more than the first. For the main reason that there isn't much in the way of history between Woodland Hills and Peters Township. As far as I can tell there is no bad blood lingering between the two schools from prior events
And its unlikely that there is anything between Gabe Pritz, the other primary in the story, and Alonzo from the AAU circuit. Alonzo just played Basketball to play it. And I quote.
Are you going to miss basketball once you get to college? Kind of ... No, not really. I don't really like basketball. I just play it.
Now there is no question that the game was a tense and taught game. See below.
The fourth quarter alone included five technical fouls, two ejections and 24 free throws attempted by Peters Township.
So the refs at least attempted to keep the game under some semblance of control.
That said it strains incredulity to think that momentous reaction that Shak clearly had would be about one foul call. Even about the one foul call that saw him ejected from the game. In situations like this there is always a tipping point. For Zinadine Zidane it was Marco Materazzi calling his sister a whore. Ron Artest didn't fully loose his shit at the Palace until a moron threw a Beer on him while he was relaxing on the scorers table. And sorry to all the UC fans who have been dreading this moment for the last two sentences. It took Dez Wells being a punk and pushing Ge'Lawn Guyn from behind to turn Yancy Gates from a ball of frustration to a seething mass of anger and rage. These kind of things don't just happen. There is always a tipping point. A catalyst. And everyone in this country knows that there is no subject that is more catalytic than that of race.
I am not going to rule anything out on this. It could just have been that Alonzo was that upset about the foul call. Its very, very doubtful but technically possible. I come down on the other side of the argument (clearly). But the only person who can possibly speak to Alonzo's state of mind at the time of the events is Shakim Alonzo.