Two days after the Southern Illinois University men's basketball team tipped off its season with its annual Maroon Madness, the team finds itself without an integral member of the team.
Sophomore guard Ryan Hare was dismissed from the team according to a release via the school's Web site on Sunday night. Hare averaged 7.5 points per game and started 26 of the team's 31 games as a freshman. In September, Hare was suspended after being arrested and charged with felony battery and trespassing.
TBDS sources have informed the blog that the charges stemmed from a fight that might be related to a domestic issue. Hare was given a second chance, but citing a violation of team rules (also known as breaking whatever rules Coach Lowery laid down after the suspension) Hare was dismissed and has left the SIU Carbondale campus.
On the court, the Chicago native drew favorable comparisons to former Saluki great Stetson Hairston. Like Hairston, Hare was a left-handed shooting grinder who excelled on the defensive end of the court. I would make the argument that Hare was the team's best on-the-ball defender after senior guard Bryan Mullins bit the dust with a stress fracture injury.
Hare was expected to log heavy minutes for the Salukis in the upcoming 2010 season. But rumors of his dismissal started as whispers on Friday when Hare was not announced, nor was he in attendance at the team's Maroon Madness event. The rumors were put to rest Sunday with the official announcement of the dismissal.
So, you won't see Ryan Hare in any of the upcoming Saluki previews that will be posted over the next two weeks. It's a shame, too. Soft-spoken and always polite with the media whether the mic was on or off, Hare looked poised to be another great Saluki guard in Southern's stable of backcourt ballers.
Hare is the second member of the much-heralded 2008 recruiting class that also landed guard Kevin Dillard and forward Anthony Booker. Guard Torres Roundtree left the team after the team's Dec. 31 loss against Northern Iowa. Hare is the sixth Saluki to leave Lowery's program after playing in the system, joining Roundtree, Christian Cornelius, Joshua Bone, Brandon Wood and Mike Dale. Other Saluki commitments to never make the court include Josh Tabb, who was snagged by Bruce Pearl at Tennessee and Drew Barham, who got picked up by Memphis after backing out of his commitment in one of the strangest recruiting sagas (see: total bullshit on behalf of Memphis recruiting -- which really shouldn't shock anyone) in recent memory.
Hare's dismissal will likely set off a backlash in the southern Illinois.
At times, there is a divide among the Southern Illinois community. Chicago and its surrounding suburbs make up a healthy chunk of the Carbondale campus. And like yours truly, some of the northern kids become Southern transplants. It's an awkward situation that sometimes sets off rivalries between former city slickers and life long members of a tight-knit rural community. I have already received backlash as "you Chicago kids" are apparently no good despite the fact that I have a clean record.
It would not surprise me to hear and read those types of comments on blogs, in comment sections and on message boards. When really, a small sample size shouldn't put everyone in a dark light.
In the end, a black eye for my alma mater is a black eye for everyone involved.