Tyler Smith Booted From Tennessee Amid Drug, Weapons Charges; Two Reinstated

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Bruce Pearl Reinstates Tatum, Goins To Tennessee Roster

Cameron Tatum and Melvin Goins were two of the four Tennessee players to be arrested on drug and weapons charges on New Year's Day. They were suspended by the team, but coach Bruce Pearl announced Saturday that Tatum and Goins will be reinstated.

Tennessee basketball coach Bruce Pearl announced Saturday that Melvin Goins and Cameron Tatum will return to the team for Tuesday's game at Alabama. Brian Williams continues to serve an indefinite suspension.

Goins and Tatum each have been suspended for four games and will be allowed to resume participation in practice starting Sunday. The pair has not taken part in any team activities since the evening of Dec. 31.

Senior guard/forward Tyler Smith was dismissed from the team on Jan. 8.

Well, two out of four ain't bad. To get an idea of what the reinstatement of Tatum and Goins means for the Volunteers blog, stay tuned to our Tennessee blog, Rocky Top Talk.


Tennessee Dismisses Tyler Smith After Arrest On Drug And Weapon Charges

Per Jeff Goodman of Fox Sports, the Tennessee Volunteers have dismissed Tyler Smith from the team following his New Year’s Day arrest on drug and weapons charges.

Tennessee dismissed Tyler Smith from the team – per a release that just went out

Smith was averaging 11.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game this season. He, along with Cameron Tatum, Brian Williams and Melvin Goins were arrested for speeding, upon which police found two guns, drugs and an open container of alcohol in the car. They were suspended indefinitely by the team on January 2.

No word on if/when the other three players will return to the court.


Bruce Pearl Speaks On Arrests And Suspensions

Wes Rucker of the Chattanooga Times Free Press -- an excellent source for Tennessee athletics news -- interviewed Volunteers men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl about the arrest of four players on misdemeanor drug and weapons charges after the team's practice Saturday afternoon.

Pearl says it's possible that one or more of the players return for the game against Charlotte Wednesday.

"I don't know. A lot's going to depend on the outcome. They're suspended, but to speculate any further, I would say it's likely that all or some won't play in that game. But I just don't know right now. I don't have enough details."

Later in the interview, Pearl makes it clear that the players could still be removed from the program after the investigation is complete.

"Dismissing players is a possibility. A lot of it's not just going to depend on this particular outcome; a lot of it's going to depend on the history of the student-athlete, as it relates to his conduct over a period of the last two, three or four years. We'll be fair. We'll be firm. We're not going to underreact, and we're not going to overreact. The people here at the University of Tennessee and the people of the state of Tennessee have given me this basketball program. Let me run it, and I'll make the right decisions to the very best of my ability." 

I recommend that you read the entire interview as Rucker asked about the state of the team, recruiting and the mysterious rental car the players were driving.


Rocky Top Talk: Reaction To The Basketball Arrests And Suspensions

SB Nation's Tennessee blog, Rocky Top Talk, has a reaction piece up about the arrest and subsequent suspension of four Volunteer basketball players on New Year's Day. 

The suspensions are similar to the ones initally doled out after three Tennessee football players were arrested in November. But they may not be the end of the discipline based on head coach Bruce Pearl's track record.

This is the same strategy Lane Kiffin and Mike Hamilton took on the arrests of Nu'Keese Richardson, Mike Edwards, and Janzen Jackson (who was later cleared). And Pearl has shown he has no problem dismissing players from the team: now in the fifth year of his tenure, Pearl has said goodbye to Major Wingate, Ramar Smith, Duke Crews, while Josh Tabb withdrew from the university while on an indefinite suspension. Wingate, Smith and Crews were drug-related dismissals.

The post also makes mention, yet again, as to how important these four players are to the team as a whole.


  • F Tyler Smith: 26.8 mins, 11.7 pts, 4.7 rebs, 3.7 assts
  • G Cameron Tatum: 19.6 mins, 8.7 pts, 2.4 rebs, 1.7 assts
  • C Brian Williams: 16.7 mins, 5.9 pts, 5.4 rebs
  • G Melvin Goins: 16.3 mins, 6.1 pts, 2.2 rebs, 2.3 assts


Will at Rocky Top Talk says their replacements will have to be ready to go before that Wednesday home game against Charlotte.


Bruce Pearl Officially Suspends Four Arrested Tennessee Players

Mike Griffith of the Knoxville News Sentinel writes Saturday that Tennessee head coach Bruce Pearl has suspended Melvin Goins, Tyler Smith, Cameron Tatum and Brian Williams -- the four basketball players arrested on New Year's Day for numerous misdemeanor drug and weapons charges. The length of the suspension is up in the air, however.

UT coach Bruce Pearl told the News Sentinel on Friday night that all four players have been suspended and likely will not practice with the team today. It's possible all four will be suspended for at least one game, too.

Griffith's article goes into the basketball implications of the suspension, which could be significant. The Volunteers' next game is Wednesday night against Charlotte, a team that already beat Louisville at Freedom Hall by 22 in December. After that, Tennessee plays top-ranked Kansas on Saturday, January 9. Those games would both be difficult to win with four of the team's top eight performers out.

The original News Sentinel story has been updated to include further information about the car in which the players were stopped. 

(Knoxville Police Department spokesman Darrell) DeBusk said the vehicle used was a Dodge Charger and had Illinois plates. A source told the News Sentinel that the vehicle was a rental and was borrowed from a player's friend.

UT compliance is expected to look into the relationship between the players and the person responsible for the rental car to determine if the NCAA would deem it to be a violation of the extra benefit rule.

Our Tennessee blog, Rocky Top Talk, has more information and discussion on this developing story.


Knoxville Police: No Felonies Will Be Filed Against Tennessee Players

According to the Knoxville News-Sentinel, the four Tennessee basketball players arrested on drug and weapons charges on New Year’s Day will face only misdemeanor charges.

Knoxville police say information they previously released that (Tyler) Smith and (Brian) Williams faced felony charges was incorrect.

The other two Volunteer players, Cameron Tatum and Melvin Goins, were listed as charged with only misdemeanors originally.

Via Twitter, Dan Wolken, of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal finds this explanation a bit fishy.

Knoxville police says automatic felony charge for gun with altered serial number, then backtracks? Huh?

I'm sure we'll find out in the coming days whether this is a case of home cooking or a simple misunderstanding of the law.


Tennessee Players Face Indefinite Suspension

Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com reports on his blog that Tennessee head coach Bruce Pearl will suspend Tyler Smith, Cameron Tatum, Brian Williams and Melvin Goins indefinitely after their arrest on weapons and drug charges on New Year's Day.

Parrish writes that the players' future with the program will be determined as more facts become available.

The car, which didn't belong to any of the players, is a rental, which Parrish says is another aspect of the case that may warrant more investigation, potentially by the NCAA.

The arrests and suspensions come at a bad time for Tennessee schedule-wise. The Volunteers host Charlotte, a team that has already won at Louisville, on Wednesday. Top-ranked Kansas then comes calling on Saturday, January 10th.


Rocky Top Talk: A Little Info On The Car And A Rundown Of The Charges

SB Nation's Tennessee blog, Rocky Top Talk, has a Breaking News post about the arrest of four Tennessee basketball players on drugs and weapons charges, thanks to the Tennessee Rivals site (subscription).

There is now a little bit of information about the car the four players were driving.

UPDATE 3:57 PM Brent Hubbs at VolQuest ($) is reporting that the car they were driving does not belong to any of the four. So things either got much better or much worse.

A full list of the charges is also available.

UPDATE 4:29 PM - Brent Hubbs at VolQuest ($) now has a rundown of all of the charges - Tyler Smith and Brian Williams have the altered serial number charges, all four are being hit with weapon possession charges currently (maybe still some sorting out there?), Melvin Goins and Williams have drug possession charges, and Cam Tatum as the driver picks up the open alcohol container charge.

There is also a statement from the Knoxville Police Department, posted at WVLT-TV's website, which provides more details about the traffic stop and specific charges. At the end of the statement, there's word that the police will not make any further comment on the case until Monday. 


Vols Player(s) May Face Felony Charge, Multilple Guns Found In Car

Four members of the Tennessee Volunteers were arrested today, and as more details emerge, the picture is getting worse and worse for Tennessee. Per Tennessee beat writer Wes Rucker, of the Chattanooga Free-Press, the players were stopped for speeding at 11:27 am. Upon approaching, the officers found a veritable cornucopia of contraband—two guns were found under the two fronts, drugs, and an open container of alcohol.

It’s crazy to think that star college athletes could be foolish enough to tempt fate by driving around with any of those things, but all three at once? Jeez.

Further compounding matters, one of the guns had a serial number that had been partially altered, making the possession of that weapon a felony offense. The altered gun was found under Tyler Smith’s seat, though it’s unclear whether it belonged to him, or one of the other passengers. Again, it’s all sort of surreal right now, especially given the involvement of Tyler Smith, who’s emergence as a star for UT over the past few years—in the wake of his father’s tragic passing—has been one of the more heartwarming stories in college basketball.


We’ll have more news as it emerges, but especially considering the reports of filed off serial numbers and felony charges, it appears this situation could have very serious implications for the players involved. Stay tuned.


Tennessee Coach Bruce Pearl's Reaction To Arrests: We Will Wait For The Facts

The Knoxville News-Sentinel has Tennessee head coach Bruce Pearl’s reaction to the arrest of four of his players on misdemeanor drug and weapons charges on New Year’s Day.

His words are ones you would expect in this day and age.

“We take these matters very seriously,” UT coach Bruce Pearl said in a statement released by UT. "We are still gathering information. Once the appropriate authorities have provided us with all of the facts, we will act accordingly."

Visit our Volunteers blog, Rocky Top Talk, for more on this story.

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