Ky Madden has made a name for himself as one of the most sought after basketball recruits in Arkansas and the nation.
His physical tools have helped him pop up on the radar of college coaches, however his on court antics are starting to raise questions.
This Saturday at The Real Deal In The Rock AAU basketball tournament I saw something first hand that has me doubting if he is worth the risk of giving a scholarship to.
Madden’s temper has become something of legend ever since his hissy fit in the state tournament where he turned over a water cooler and ruined the brand new court that was hosting this year. He gave the first glimpse of that temper this weekend in the opening game of the Real Deal tournament. He was given a technical foul late in the game when his jawing turned into shoving.
Other than that he had a fantastic game and proved his status as one of the best players in the country. From the Friday game I was left thinking that maybe he has a little bit of a temper, but it could be manageable. I would not know how wrong I was until the following morning.
I made the short drive to Dunbar Middle School at 8:00 A.M. Saturday morning to see Madden and the Arkansas Wings play against the Austin Ice. As I was watching the team warm up I was appalled by Madden’s lack of effort. Sure, it was eight in the morning. Sure, they played a game less than 12 hours before, but I started to get the impression that Madden genuinely had no interest in warming up with his teammates. Sadly, his lack of effort in warm-ups was not the worst part of his performance.
Despite getting a technical in the previous game, Madden started –but he only played a couple of minutes and was benched for the remainder of the first half and almost half of the second. I leaned over to my friend that was with me and asked, “What’s the deal? Is he in the doghouse for his technical last night?”
Soon after, Madden checked back into the game. After a missed shot that was rebounded by Austin, Madden tried to create a steal and failed. This apparently frustrated him enough that he felt the need to throw a haymaker that knocked the Austin player flat on his back.
The gym erupted around me while all I could do was sit in silent shock. Madden was fortunate that the referee did not get a clean look at what happened and that he was not ejected immediately.
The sucker punch raised two questions in my head:
- Who is that angry at eight in the morning?
- How can you get that frustrated after 15 seconds of game time?
After he was given a technical and placed back on the bench he had the nerve to argue with one of the assistant coaches like he didn’t just punch someone in the face. I was sitting two rows behind him and felt like I had to whisper with my friend about what had just transpired so that I wouldn’t be directly in the cross hairs of a ‘Ron Artest Malice In The Palace’ situation.
I was incredibly disappointed with his AAU coaching staff that put him back in the game later in the half. Since the referees did not eject him, his coach should have taken it upon himself to send him home. Madden is not learning a lesson about his behavior if he’s allowed to get away with it and still play, and even start the next game. I know it’s important to these coaches to win games, but what are you teaching this young man?
To say that Ky Madden has character issues is an understatement. He has plenty of physical talent, but his conduct is a risk for the Razorback basketball program and John Pelphrey. I don’t think that is a risk Pelphrey should take.
Arkansas is in such a dire situation that they cannot afford the bad press if this kid does something horribly out of line again, especially off the court. He obviously does not care enough about his team to not get a technical foul in a game in which his team is losing.
Sadly, he also does not care enough about himself to be on his best behavior in one of the biggest AAU tournaments in the country – a tournament that the biggest college coaches in the nation attend.
Ky Madden (6′5″) is the tall guard that the Hogs desperately need. But at this point the Hogs need character in addition to skill. Madden is a blue chip prospect and a world class risk.