It was supposed to be a new beginning for Herb Pope at Seton Hall. Instead, it was more of the same. And the former prep star's latest brush with infamy may have ended up costing his coach his job.
In a first round NIT game Tuesday night, the Seton Hall star delivered two punches to the groin of Texas Tech's Darko Cohadarevia. The incident earned Pope an ejection and Seton Hall ended up losing by 18 points. On Wednesday, Seton Hall fired head coach Bobby Gonzalez. Though Pope's punch wasn't the only factor in the termination (Gonzalez's teams never made the NCAA tournament in four seasons), the school's president said the "conduct associated with the program" was a problem.
Pope's second punch last night knocked Cohaderevia over and earned the sophomore an ejection, the latest in a long line of offenses for the embattled 21-year old.
Watch the video here:
That was vicious. Pope gets him down like he was Muhammad Ali and Cohadarevia was Sonny Liston. It's as dirty a play as you'll see in college basketball.
Four years ago, Pope was one of the nation's most highly touted recruits. He lived a hard life -- his drug addicted parents abandoned him, he was in and out of trouble for most of his early life in Western Pennsylvania, he once punched a coach -- but his basketball talents earned him offers from powerhouses like Oklahoma, Maryland and Texas. Pope chose New Mexico State though, mainly to leave his old life behind.
But before he stepped on the court in Los Cruces, Pope was shot four times at an altercation at a party. He recovered enough to play for New Mexico State in 2007-2008, but transferred to be closer to home. After sitting out a season due to transfer rules, Pope averaged 11.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per game as a sophomore.
He was on track to make people forget about his troubles. With two punches, all that progress is gone.