The 5 Dirtiest Players in College Basketball
As unfortunate as it may be, there will always be dirty players in sports.
Despite the fact that college athletes at the Division I level are getting a free ride to play college basketball for four years at an elite program, some of them will still feel the need to try and get the upper hand over their opponents by using cheap shots or dirty tactics in games.
Last year, several players were found guilty of being dirty players, and here are some that we should be on the lookout for, heading into next season, as the dirtiest players in college basketball.
5. Brittney Griner: Baylor (Women's)
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images
Brittney Griner may be the best player in women's college hoops, but that doesn't mean she isn't a dirty player.
For example, there's this incident in 2010 where Griner got tangled up with Texas Tech player Jordan Barncastle and then punched her right in the face after the play.
Griner is known for her short temper and intensity on the court, so it is no surprise she gets fired up, but there is no excuse for letting her actions get the best of her like that.
Granted, that was Griner's freshman year at Baylor, and she has since cleaned up her act to an extent, but it is still enough to land her on the list of the game's dirtiest players.
4. DeAndre Kane: Marshall
Photo credit: anonymouseagle.com
There is another way to look at how dirty a player is other than their actions against opponents. It also could entail one's actions against officials.
A quick look at last year's technical foul leaders sees Kane edging out UCF's Isaiah Sykes for the lead amongst Division I players with seven technicals last season.
Granted, there is a time and a place to get upset with officiating, and sometimes a tech is even justified. But seven in one season is simply unacceptable and really hurts your team as well as your own reputation.
Most players won't even get seven t's their entire career, much less in one year. Kane is a talented player for Marshall, which makes it even more of a shame that this defines his game more than his abilities.
3. Ruslan Pateev: Arizona State
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
In a game last season between Arizona State and Southern Mississippi, a scuffle broke out that led to three players being ejected.
Two of them were the men involved in the main incident, Arizona State's Ruslan Pateev and Southern Miss's Torye Pelham, but it was Pateev who landed the sucker punch to the back of the head of Pelham and was subsequently suspended for a game.
As you can see, the scuffle was initially caused by Pelham who gave Pateev a little extra push when the two were attempting to box each other out. Was it unnecessary? Yes. But it is something you see in pretty much every game and should have just been brushed off by Pateev.
However, the Russian center had different ideas. On their way back down to the court, Pateev grabbed Pelham and punched him, even though Pelham had his back turned (which you can see in the 1:00 mark of the video).
That kind of action was enough to put Pateev on probation from the Pac-12 for the remainder of the year and easily lands him among the list of the dirtiest players in College Basketball going into next year.
2. Gregory Echenique: Creighton
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Last year's NCAA tournament game between North Carolina and Creighton was a particularly physical matchup, but in one play, Creighton center Gregory Echenique took it too far.
In the first half on a UNC fast break, Echenique lined up and took a shot at former UNC player, Tyler Zeller, who was running into get the rebound.
Despite being an obvious flagrant foul that should have got him ejected from the game, a foul was not even called on Echenique for the play, despite knocking Zeller to the ground with his punch.
Nevertheless, the play was totally uncalled for, especially in an NCAA tournament game and could have easily injured Zeller, which is enough to put him on this list.
1. Cheikh Mbodj: Cincinnati
Photo credit: Cincinnati.247sports.com
Last year, the NCAA witnessed one of its most brutal brawls ever when Cincinnati and Xavier went at it in a messy brawl that resulted in multi-game suspensions for players on both teams.
The most infamous incident from the event is when former Cincinnati player Yancy Gates punched Xavier center Kenny Frease directly in the face and caused him to get a black eye.
Gates was suspended six games, but teammate Cheikh Mbodj was also suspended six games for his actions in the brawl.
Mbodj can be seen in the videotape attempting to stomp on Frease when he was on the ground after he received the sucker punch from Gates.
The punch in the face from Gates was bad enough, but Mbodj's actions after he was already on the ground were even more cowardly, and he should have been suspended for much longer than he was.
Mbodj was basically a non-factor for Cincy last season, but even if he steps up his game this year, he will still go into the season being known throughout the game as one of college basketball's dirtiest players.