On Monday, Prep Rally brought you the story of Charles Mann, the Alpharetta (Ga.) High star point guard who was banned from the remainder of his team's state playoff run after being ejected for receiving two controversial technical fouls in the same game. Because the Georgia High School Association doesn't allow appeals of "judgment calls" like the ones that handed Mann a technical, the future Georgia player was left with no recourse for the premature ending of his career.
That doesn't mean that Mann has been able to accept his fate with ease. Rather, as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported, Mann has struggled to sleep since his ejection, all while struggling to understand why he was given either of his technical fouls.
"It's affected me a lot," Mann said of the technicals and the resulting two-game sit-out penalty. "I think about it every day. It's hard for me to sleep at night. I didn't want my last high school game to end like that. It hurts, especially not being there for my team in that kind of environment in the final four."
Mann described the second technical against him after a dunk -- video of which created a maelstrom of controversy nationwide -- truly baffling. The teen said that the action which a game official construed as taunting was actually just part of turning around to play defense against a North Gwinnett (Ga.) High inbounds pass. Further review of the video seems to back that account up, as well.
Yet Mann has a more sinister idea about what may have inspired the controversial technical, too.
"I just felt like people just don't want to see [Milton] win," Mann told the Journal-Constitution. "I just feel we've had a target on us from day one, and they called the game unfair, especially with those two technicals. I didn't say anything. I didn't taunt. The other team was playing dirty and did some taunting things to us, and the officials didn't see it or call it."
While Mann's explanation could be grounded in paranoia, there is a certain element of reason to it. Milton is one of the state's more polarizing -- and successful -- programs because of its ability to attract transfers from other programs. The program played in its fourth consecutive state semifinal on Thursday, and the Eagles' 73-52 rout of Harrison (Ga.) High on Thursday made the school just the second in some 75 years to reach four consecutive Class AAAAA state finals.
That's a heck of an accomplishment, and one which had Mann's fingerprints all over it. He's just rightfully upset that he isn't allowed to be a part of it, particularly given his alleged transgressions.
"That was my dream to play for a state championship."