May 3, 2008
Just a day after the story of Chris Lofton's triumphant victory over cancer was released, the basketball program at Tennessee took a shot back to reality. It was announced that sophomores Duke Crews and Ramar Smith have been dismissed from the team. Coach Bruce Pearl announced that the dismissal of both are not related and is more of a build up of incidents, more than it is one particular one. Pearl was quoted saying: “We just felt like — both the University of Tennessee and these student athletes — we’d be better served to move on.”
The dismissals are attributed to 'violations of UT’s substance abuse policy and academic shortcomings.' Vol fans most likely remember Duke Crews's run-in with the law in September, when he was handed a 30-day suspension for violations of team rules. It was found out that prior to the suspension that he had failed a drug test. A heart condition left him out of the beginning of the most recent season, but he was cleared to play and by the end of the year starting to pick up his game.
It's no secret that Ramar Smith has had academic trouble lately. The point guard from Detroit had problems just getting into Tennessee, when his SAT test was late to be validated. But, he was cleared to play, and late in his freshman year, Smith had played a major role in the Sweet Sixteen run. But, September of last year wasn't such a good month for Smith either. He was in an accident when borrowing a teammate's car and had fled before police arrived.
While the dismissal of these two isn't exactly a shock, after the recent history of both and rumors involving academic problems for Ramar, it still hurts. The two had great potential and helped load a team that has talent to make another serious run. It had been reported, that the Vols have offered Bobby Maze a scholarship. Maze, a point-guard, started for Oklahoma as a freshman but he too was dismissed from the team. In the paint, however, it must be expected that Ryan Childress and perhaps even Brian Williams could see more time in 08-09, filling in for Crews. The Smith count for the Vols has dropped down to 1.