HomeSportBoston Celtics Players ‘Shocked’ by Coach Ime Udoka’s Suspension

Boston Celtics Players ‘Shocked’ by Coach Ime Udoka’s Suspension

CANTON, Mass. — Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics stated he was making ready for the beginning of coaching camp final week when he discovered that Ime Udoka, the staff’s head coach, might have been going through a prolonged suspension. However Tatum was not aware about any inside info, he stated. So, how did he be taught the information?

“On Twitter,” he stated. “Like all people else.”

Tatum was among the many Celtics gamers who, on Monday, spoke publicly for the primary time for the reason that staff introduced Thursday that it had suspended Udoka for the 2022-23 N.B.A. season for unspecified “violations of staff insurance policies.” One after the other, the gamers appeared on a dais for the staff’s media day and, going through a financial institution of cameras and reporters, stated they knew little about what had led to Udoka’s punishment.

Marcus Good: “It’s been hell for us. Simply caught unexpectedly. Nobody actually is aware of something, so we’re simply within the wind like all people else. Final couple of days have been complicated.”

Jaylen Brown: “No one actually has any of the knowledge.”

Grant Williams: “I don’t know the info.”

For the gamers, Udoka’s absence — together with the secretive nature of the investigation into his misconduct — has been a troubling improvement as they attempt to reorient themselves for one more crack at a championship run after shedding to Golden State within the N.B.A. finals final season.

One individual briefed on the matter who was not approved to talk publicly about it stated Udoka had an inappropriate relationship with a feminine staff worker. One other one who had been briefed stated that Udoka’s violations concerned one lady.

“So far as preliminary reactions, I believe we had been all shocked at what was occurring — somewhat confused,” Brown stated. “However numerous the knowledge wasn’t being shared with us, or with members of the staff, so I can’t actually touch upon it.”

A Celtics spokesman declined to say what number of violations there have been.

In a information convention final week, Wyc Grousbeck, the staff’s majority proprietor, cited “privateness causes” in declining to elaborate on the character of Udoka’s misconduct. The Celtics’ determination to droop Udoka got here after a monthslong investigation by an unbiased legislation agency, Grousbeck stated.

On Monday, Tatum, Brown and Good had been among the many staff’s high-profile gamers who indicated that they didn’t know in regards to the investigation whereas it was taking place. In truth, Good stated, Udoka had lately visited him and a few teammates in Los Angeles. Good was requested if something about Udoka’s habits struck him as uncommon whereas he was in California.

“To not me,” he stated. “I believe that’s why we acquired so caught off guard, as a result of it simply appeared so regular.”

Imprecise reviews about Udoka’s scenario emerged on social media Wednesday. At a staff assembly the next day, few particulars had been shared with gamers, Tatum stated.

“There wasn’t any extra info that we discovered than the stuff you guys heard,” Tatum stated, including: “It’s laborious for me to reply if issues had been dealt with the fitting approach or in the event that they weren’t as a result of, I suppose for lots of causes, I don’t know all the main points. I simply don’t know.”

Tatum and Brown, the staff’s prime two scorers final season, each stated they’d not spoken with Udoka since he was suspended. “It’s lots to course of,” Tatum stated.

Joe Mazzulla, 34, whom the Celtics employed as an assistant in 2019, would be the staff’s interim head coach this season. Brad Stevens, the Celtics’ president of basketball operations and Udoka’s predecessor, stated final week that Mazzulla was your best option for the position “by a protracted shot.” Mazzulla, who performed school basketball at West Virginia, was beforehand the pinnacle coach at Fairmont State, a Division II school in West Virginia.

As a school participant, Mazzulla twice pleaded responsible to disorderly conduct expenses, based on a number of information reviews on the time — first, when he was accused of struggling with police at a Pittsburgh Pirates recreation, and later after he was accused of grabbing a lady at a bar.

“Pay attention, I’ve made errors,” Mazzulla stated Monday. “I’m not good. I’ve damage individuals, and I’ve had to make use of the conditions I put myself in as a youthful man to be taught from and grow to be a greater individual. That’s what I’ve tried to give attention to: How can I re-create my identification as an individual? How can I depend on my religion? And the way can I simply have a optimistic influence on the individuals round me?”

Brown, who was the topic of commerce rumors within the low season after Kevin Durant requested to be moved from the Nets, was among the many gamers who provided Mazzulla a public vote of confidence.

“I consider in Joe,” Brown stated. “Joe believes in me. I’ve had conversations with him. I don’t assume he sees a restrict on my recreation. I believe he’s coming in excited, so I’m optimistic.”

Malcolm Brogdon, a veteran guard who was traded to the Celtics from the Indiana Pacers in July, stated he was struck by Mazzulla’s self-discipline. Over the summer time, Brogdon stated, Mazzulla typically beat the gamers to the staff’s coaching middle to elevate weights every morning.

At some point, Mazzulla seen that Brogdon was utilizing a balloon to do respiration workouts. Mazzulla informed Brogdon that he was a fan of respiration workouts, too.

“He began explaining the theories behind them and the psychology of it,” Brogdon stated. “So he’s a man that’s listening to all the pieces.”

Nonetheless, Mazzulla acknowledged a few of the realities of the scenario: that folks all through the Celtics group want time to “really feel and heal,” that he by no means anticipated being on this place and that he doubtless might want to be taught on the job.

The gamers, too, appear conscious of the challenges forward of them.

“Every thing that we began to construct,” Good stated, “is beginning over in a way.”



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