Basketball coach disiplines players involved in fight

The GW men’s basketball team has disciplined three players for their involvement in an Oct. 1 altercation at Lulu’s Mardi Gras. Metropolitan and University police are investigating the incident and could still charge the players with assault.

GW Director of Athletics Jack Kvancz declined to say how the three players – junior Pops Mensah-Bonsu and sophomores Carl Elliott and J.R. Pinnock – have been punished. Since the city has not filed charges against the players, Kvancz said the athletic department is not planning any further actions.

“Coach (Karl) Hobbs has disciplined the three guys for what we know, which was that they shouldn’t have been (at Lulu’s),” Kvancz said. “Now, if we find out something else we’ll take whatever actions are appropriate.”

Hobbs has been reluctant to comment on the allegations against the players. He said through a spokesman last week that he would issue a written statement on Wednesday in response to the altercation but did not do so. Reached by phone Friday evening, the coach declined to discuss the incident or his response to it.

“It was a good learning experience for them,” Hobbs said. Coaches have instructed members of the basketball team, including the three players involved in the fight, not to comment.

Kvancz said the incident could be a wake-up call for the Colonials. The men’s basketball team has gained national exposure in recent months as a team on the rise and has been picked by many as the best team in the Atlantic 10 conference this year.

Now, Kvancz said, the Colonials must realize that as recognizable people on campus, they will be scrutinized more than normal students.

“No matter what I do, no matter what I say, no matter how I conduct myself,” Kvancz said, talking about the players’ actions, “someone is going to say, ‘So and so was there, and so and so was doing this.'”

Regardless of what happened, Kvancz said the players involved must also work to repair a relationship they might have strained after the Oct. 1 incident.

“If they did something bad and it can be proven, then they’re going to have to pay the price,” he said. “But what you have negated here, and you’re going to have to build it back up again, is the relationship you have with the GW students for being a good guy. And I really do believe that the majority of the kids on the team are people who can identify with students.”

Al Chadsey, the manager at Lulu’s, said Elliott, Mensah-Bonsu and Pinnock assaulted some of his employees – which included a GW junior – after being told to leave because they had earlier been fighting with other students. Chadsey said two employees were taken to the hospital after the fight to get stitches and that another suffered a black eye. It is unclear whether other patrons at the bar took part in the fight.

UPD chief Dolores Stafford said her department is investigating the incident. She said she does not yet know any details about the case and does not know when the investigation will be complete. MPD officials investigating the case could not be reached for comment.

Chadsey said MPD might not be working as quickly as it could. The manager of the bar, located at 22nd and M streets, wants criminal charges brought against the three players.

“I’m letting the thing take its course,” he said. “As a general rule, when there’s an assault case, they usually work on it a little faster.”

Chadsey said an MPD detective who he could not identify came to the club to conduct interviews last week. Chadsey said the future of the case is still unclear. Last week, MPD officials told The Hatchet that the players could be arrested or receive citations if they are charged with assault.

Elliott, Mensah-Bonsu and Pinnock were key contributors on a team that finished 18-12 and went to the National Invitational Tournament last season.

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