November 14, 2010
Southern Miss picked up its biggest win of the year Saturday, a 31-21 upset over No. 25 Central Florida that keeps the Golden Eagles alive in Conference USA's East Division. Unfortunately, they have no chance to enjoy it today after three defensive leaders were seriously injured in a bar shooting a few hours later:
Southern Miss officials today identified the victims of an early morning shooting as football players Martez Smith, 22, of Canton (Miss.), Tim Green, 21, of Columbia, S.C., and Deddrick Jones, 23, of Bastrop, La. All three are listed in fair and stable condition at Forrest General Hospital.
[Hattiesburg police Sgt. Allen] Murray said investigators have not ruled out gang involvement in the shooting. He said an argument began in the nightclub and continued in the parking lot.
He said the USM players were not armed. "We're looking at it as an isolated incident," Murray said.
The upgrade in the players' conditions is relatively good news, after initial reports listed them as "critical." No arrests have been made or information on possible suspects released.
The website of the club in question doesn't show quite the den of vice described in the Associated Press account of the shootings, though it does carry the regrettable url, www.huntorbehunted.com. This particular location either didn't exist in my student days in Hattiesburg or existed outside of my social circle, which tended to prefer overstuffed house parties to bars in off-the-beaten-path shopping centers, so I can't account for its reputation.
It does come across as the kind of place that would have been off-limits to players under any circumstances under former coach Jeff Bower, whose list of verboten establishments seemed to (wisely) rope off about half the town. If it wasn't in current coach Larry Fedora's targets before this senseless outburst, it obviously should be now.
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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.