Rodgers, over and out

By Shane Bacon and Roman Veytsman
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, January 19, 2006

Source: Shouting match preceded guard's dismissal

Senior guard Chris Rodgers was released from the team by Arizona men's basketball head coach Lute Olson last night after "long and serious deliberation."

According to sources close to the team, Rodgers and Olson had a verbal altercation in practice Monday.

The senior, who graduated in December with a degree in psychology, started 13 games for Arizona and averaged 10.8 points and 2.8 rebounds a game for the 10-6 Wildcats.

"After long and serious deliberation, the men's basketball staff has dismissed Chris Rodgers, effective immediately, from the team," Olson said in a press release. "It should be noted that Chris has earned his college degree in three and a half years and that we wish him much success in all future endeavors."

Rodgers, a native of Portland, Ore., who was suspended earlier this season for the first 10 minutes of a game against Houston for being late to a team meeting, discounted those accusations during a press conference in December.

"Just for the record, I haven't been late to anything for the three and a half years I've been here," Rodgers said then of the charges. "Obviously there's a misconception and a misunderstanding of what went on there, so I just wanted to set the record straight for whoever was writing stuff."

Adams, along with many of the players, said that they weren't allowed to speak much on the issue.

"I can't speak on it," Adams said. "I have a game to worry about tomorrow."

Freshman forward Marcus Williams said that the team has lost a valuable player in Rodgers.

"It saddens me to be honest with you," Williams said. "He's a great player. He's a big asset to our team, so it's obviously a big loss for us."

Rodgers, who was suspended from a game last year against Washington State for not fulfilling team responsibilities, said in December he felt that the team is better with him on the floor.

"We're a better team when I'm on the floor and up until the Houston game, I was playing well," Rodgers said. "The seniors need me out there. Hassan needs me out there to help out and I do a better job as far as disrupting teams when I'm out there and we're a better team when I'm out there. I think everybody can see that."

Rodgers is the first Wildcat basketball player to be dismissed from the team since reserve center Donnell Harris was kicked off the team in 1998, prior to the start of the season. Harris was a member of Arizona's only NCAA National Championship team, in which he scored eight points and pulled down seven rebounds in Arizona's 84-79 overtime victory over Kentucky.

Freshman point guard J.P. Prince, like his Wildcat teammates, was distressed about Rodgers' dismissal, but had little to say.

"It's an unfortunate situation that happened," Prince said. "We can't really say anything about it."

Assistant coach Josh Pastner said that Olson will talk about Rodgers tomorrow after the Stanford game.