Morehead State head coach Sean Woods brought his kids into Kentucky and played them much tighter than many people expected.
But when Kentucky started to pull away, Woods had some very harsh words, apparently, for Morehead State guard Devon Atkinson. With 5:51 left in the game, and the Eagles down by 8, Woods appears to first push his player before reducing him to near tears.
Asked about the incident after the game, Woods told the Lexington Herald Leader he was merely trying to urge Atkinson to “calm down and figure out a way to cheer your teammates on.”
Atkinson himself responded after the game on twitter, posting, “I need for everyone to chill with all that talk about my coach he was tell me some good stuff and he love me he was tell me good stuff.”
The Associated Press is reporting that a Morehead State spokesperson says Woods could face punishment for the incident with Atkinson. An announcement is expected Friday morning.
This isn’t the first time Woods has been criticized for yelling at players during a game. There were similar complaints during Morehead State’s loss earlier this season at Maryland. And just earlier this week, Woods made critical comments about UK players, before backtracking those comments on Twitter the next day.
Atkinson scored just 4 points in 20 minutes, and was one of two Eagles to foul out.
At best, the video above has taken almost all of the attention away from the face that the for 30 minutes, Morehead State played with a top-10 team in the nation, leading for much of that time. The Eagles committed just 9 turnovers on the game, and pulled down 13 offensive rebounds against a much larger Kentucky squad.
But immediately after the video was posted, overwhelmingly negative reactions came pouring in on twitter, with the majority saying Woods stepped way over the line, many going so far as to suggest a suspension for the Morehead State coach.
Some defended the coach, with many saying that if you played college basketball, you would understand. One of his own players, Drew Kelly, came to Woods defense after the game as well, saying Woods’ yelling ” doesn’t make us uncomfortable.”
Regardless of where you stand, it’s clear that Woods’ actions are the biggest story coming out of Lexington tonight.
Morehead State would go on to lose to No. 8 Kentucky 81-70.