Student manager was out of place
Stan Holt cost the USC menâ€™s basketball team Saturdayâ€™s game against the Oregon Ducks.
Holt didnâ€™t score a single point, grab one rebound or dish out an assist. He didnâ€™t turn the ball over or miss an assignment on defense.
But while he was sitting on USCâ€™s bench during the second half of the Trojans-Ducks game in Eugene, Ore., Holt did inexplicably shout obscenities at referee Bobby McRoy.
McRoy proceeded to blow his whistle and hold up a â€śTâ€ť sign with his hands. Holt received the technical foul and an immediate trip to his teamâ€™s locker room.
On the other end, Oregon converted two free throws and scored the gameâ€™s next six points to pull away from a USC team that had fought back to tie the score just moments before Holt opened his mouth.
Oregon defeated the Trojans 67-57, handing USC its second consecutive conference loss.
So although Holt didnâ€™t see any action on the court, he found a way to manage himself into trouble on the sideline.
Stan Holt was the USC menâ€™s basketball team manager.
And if youâ€™re wondering, yes, apparently team managers can get technical fouls.
And yes, they can cost teams victories too.
While there are very few exceptions for technical fouls in my book, this one might just take the cake for the worst technical foul Iâ€™ve ever heard of. In order to understand the extremity of Holtâ€™s mistake, the situation needs to be put into context.
Two nights prior to the Oregon game, USC lost a close contest to Oregon State, 51-45. In a year where the best USC can do is win the regular-season Pac-10 title, every loss is huge.
The Trojans needed a win against the Ducks to stay as close to the top of the Pac-10 as possible.
Trailing most of the game Saturday, USC used a 9-0 rally in the second half, highlighted by senior guard Dwight Lewisâ€™ key steal and layup, to tie the score at 47 with 5:43 left to play. Although Oregon scored on its next possession, USC was hitting on all cylinders heading into the gameâ€™s final minutes.
That is until Holt, a third-year USC graduate student, decided to have a say in the matter.
Holt was signaled for the technical foul with 4:35 left, and all too quickly the momentum USC had built up over the entire half was gone.
And so was the game.
â€śWe were on a run right then, and [the technical] deterred us from having a chance to win,â€ť USC coach Kevin Oâ€™Neill said.
â€śAfter that, the momentum was all theirs,â€ť Lewis said.
Oâ€™Neill dismissed Holt from his position following the game. The graduate student, who was in his third season with the USC basketball team, is gone from the program, according to the coach.
Although Oâ€™Neill tried to put some of the blame on himself for the call, he doesnâ€™t deserve any of the blame at all. A team manager simply canâ€™t put himself in a position to receive a technical.
In my book, there are only two types of people in basketball that can justifiably receive technical fouls. (The following does not include fouls received within the gameâ€™s final two minutes, when no technical foul is worth the points lost.)
You either have to be one of the best players on your team or the head coach. If you donâ€™t fit into either one of those categories, you should never get a â€śTâ€ť thrown your way by the referee.
Hereâ€™s my reasoning.
Obviously, a technical foul is giving away free points to the opposition. The only players that can make those points up at a high rate are star players who can score at will.
For example, if Iâ€™m watching a Lakers game and Kobe gets a technical, Iâ€™m not happy about it, but Iâ€™m not too upset because I know within any given possession, Kobe can put the ball through the hoop.
But if Iâ€™m watching that same game and Sasha Vujacic gets called for a technical foul, Iâ€™m furious.
As for head coaches, they can use technical fouls as a rallying cry for their team. The fouls can be somewhat inspirational and light a fire for a struggling group that needs a wake-up call.
And thatâ€™s it. No one else should cost their team valuable points â€” including you, Rasheed Wallace.
Last time I checked, Holt isnâ€™t USCâ€™s star player or head coach.
A team manager receiving a technical is like a water boy getting an unsportsmanlike penalty during a football game or a batboy getting thrown out of a baseball game.
Itâ€™s just preposterous.
Holtâ€™s ill-advised technical foul during such a crucial point of the game in what has already been a trying year for Oâ€™Neillâ€™s program was inexcusable.
And now the basketball team has to pay the price for yet another mistake by someone who is no longer in the program.
â€śSoft Handsâ€ť runs on Tuesdays. To comment on this article, visit dailytrojan.com or e-mail Jon at email@example.com.
Correction: The column originally stated the number of years Stan Holt had worked for the USC men’s basketball team. This was the third season Holt had worked for the team, not the second.