UC Irvine HC Russell Turner Called Oregon's Louis King 'Queen' During Game

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMarch 25, 2019

Oregon forward Louis King plays against UC Irvine during a second-round game in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament Sunday, March 24, 2019, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

UC Irvine head coach Russell Turner called Oregon forward Louis King "Queen" in an attempt to rattle him during Sunday's second-round matchup.

After the game, Turner told reporters:

"I was saying 'double-team Queen' to try to see if I could irritate him. And I did. And I kept talking to my team about what we wanted to do. We were calling him 'Queen' because I knew it might irritate him, because of how important he is to their team, the queen in chess. It was a play on his name of King.

"And it bothered him, started thinking about me, started thinking about Max [Hazzard]. But he came back and finished the game really strong. And he'd had a thing or two to say to me during the game, and I wanted to let him know that what I'd done was out of respect."

On Monday, Turner would release a statement apologizing for his actions, via James Crepea of OregonLive:

"I recognize my actions were inappropriate and insensitive. I share UC Irvine's belief that inclusivity and diversity are paramount values, and I apologize for not understanding that my actions during the game suggested otherwise.

"I respect Oregon's men's basketball program, its student-athletes, and its coaches. Since the conclusion of the game, I have spoken to Louis, his parents, and to Oregon's head coach Dana Altman. They have graciously accepted my explanation and apology."

King had just three points on 1-of-4 shooting in the first half, along with an assist and a rebound. He finished the game with 16 points and four rebounds, knocking down four threes and playing a pivotal role as Oregon pulled away for a 73-54 win over Irvine.

If King was bothered by the taunting, he did not let on. He made no public comment on the matter, and it was only addressed by Turner.

That said, Turner could wind up reprimanded for what some could perceive as sexist comments.

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