I hope everyone had a great Fourth of July and found a way to have a nice barbeque and shoot some fireworks. If for whatever reason you saw no fireworks, next year try and make an appointment off Tates Creek Road in Lexington as they have been going off for about the last three days here non-stop….not that I am bitter or anything.
Well as everyone knows by now, Shagari Alleyne has left the UK campus and is on his way to his next destination….Manhattan University. I wish the big fella nothing but the best as I enjoyed his goofy tenure here at UK. Whether it was watching him block shots, dunk while standing on the ground or rap in his deep baritone voice, Shagari was always good for entertainment. However his career at UK had some bumps in the road. The most significant problem was his continued academic difficulties which left him suspended on a couple of different occasions and often left his eligibility in question. The academic problems were a major frustration for Tubby Smith and likely contributed more than any other factor to his latest transfer.
But Shagari had other difficulties as well….and now that he is gone, the most whispered about Shagari story can be released. Towards the end of his Sophomore year, as Kentucky was moving towards the postseason, Shagari was allegedly involved in an “incident” with one of his teammates. Now I am 99% sure what the incident was, but out of respect for the kid and the possibility that a misunderstanding may have occurred, I will not repeat the incident. But suffice to say, Shagari was involved in a situation that caused players on the team to question whether he was to be trusted and whether he was truly “one of them.” Many of the players confronted Alleyne about the incident, including the individual most involved…..but the various verbal confronations led to no resolution.
Well that is until Chuck Hayes became aware of the situation.
Hearing the problem, Chuck went into action and by all indications, allegedly put the proverbial “beat down” on Alleyne, even though big Shag is more than a foot taller than he is. Depending on who you talk to the scuffle was either a Hayes win or a complete annihilation, but either way, the message got sent (and all agree that due to the height discrepancies, watching it was HILARIOUS). The altercation was broken up, but not before Hayes allegedly let Shagari understand that the “team” was significantly more important than one individual’s selfish motives and that there were to be NO distractions going into the postseason. After the altercation, Shagari did not play for a few games….as sort of an unofficial suspenstion for the issue and while his teammates did ultimately reimbrace the big fella (likely because he is too goofy not to like), the incident was an issue with the team for a couple of weeks.
I tell this story not to embarass the big guy as only the folks involved no what truly happened in the incident and the original problem may have been nothing more than a misunderstanding. However what the altercation however does show is that teams need a guy like Mr. Hayes. An incident occurred that had the potential to destroy the team and ruin what it had worked for. Hayes stepped in, and using what his momma gave him, was a leader and helped end the situation…..quickly and decisively. Lst year’s team had no leader that would have had anywhere near that presence. I dont advocate violent behaviors, but I think about Hayes’ actions occasionally….sometimes you need a guy just to settle the score….it will be interesting to see if anyone on this year’s group can do just that.