Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

December 19, 2013

Southern Illinois coach unloads on players

Southern Illinois coach Barry Hinson said he regretted singling out one of his players in a postgame diatribe that went viral.

And that's about it.

Hinson said at a news conference in Carbondale, Ill., on Wednesday that he apologized to starting point guard Marcus Fillyaw for calling him "absolutely awful" in a 73-65 loss at Murray State on Tuesday night.

Hinson, however, said he wouldn't take back calling his players "uncoachable," "a bunch of mama's boys" and comparing the disciplining of his young team to housebreaking a puppy.

"If that ruffles your feathers, or ruffles somebody else's feathers, then you know what, you're going to have to deal with it," Hinson said. "And here's the other thing, I'm going to have to deal with it."

Fillyaw said he wasn't surprised with the way Hinson voiced his displeasure.

"Everything he said was true," Fillyaw said. "Right now our team is playing soft. That's a big part of our identity right now ... It wasn't so much him calling me out personally. I was just as upset with my performance. His statement about me was accurate."

Fillyaw paused and added, "It was embarrassing that the whole world knows now."

Athletic director Mario Moccia said he took no disciplinary action against Hinson.

"He's very passionate. That's why we hired him," Moccia said. "I just reinforced that we never want to specifically criticize a player. There's a way to answer the media's question about a specific player's performance without being overly critical where people think you're being too tough on the kid."

Long known for being blunt, Hinson initially was calm Tuesday when he met with reporters minutes after the Salukis (2-8) lost their fourth straight game. He became more wound up the longer he discussed a performance in which his team shot 42 percent, committed 18 turnovers and was outrebounded 40-29.

"They won't let me coach them," Hinson said. "Any time I coach somebody they put their head down. We're soft. We've been enabled for whatever reason. I got a bunch of mama's boys right now. And we just won't buck up and bow our necks, and we've got to get through that."

Hinson added, "I'm tired of coaching a guy and having him roll his eyes, or put his head down or feel sorry for himself. I'm tired of that. This is big time. ... We've got men and women serving our country. They don't get to take days off. We're going to college and getting it paid for."

Several media outlets reported that senior center Davante Drinkard later tweeted, "I can't believe the little man had the nerve to call us mama's boys. Smh. I guess this is where Our team learns to point the finger."

The tweet was later removed. As of Wednesday afternoon, Drinkard's Twitter account was allowing access only to confirmed followers.

Hinson said he wasn't upset about Drinkard's tweet. "That's why we live in this country. It's freedom of speech," Hinson said. "He apologized for calling me `little man.' I'm 5-foot-8. I am a little man. It's OK."

Jay Bilas, a standout at Duke and now an ESPN broadcaster, and Creighton coach Greg McDermott both said Hinson only wants the best for — and from — his players.

"On one hand, we want our coaches and subjects to be candid with us and tell us the truth, and then when they do we want to criticize them for that, too," Bilas said. "I have no problem with coaches that want to perhaps motivate their teams through the media at times. I didn't think any of it was over the top. We'll see if it works."

McDermott has known Hinson since the early 2000s, when he was coach at Northern Iowa and Hinson was at Missouri State.

"Barry is a great coach and better person," McDermott wrote in a text message. "He wears his passion on his sleeve, which was evident in the interview. If his players listen to him, they will be better because of it."

Fillyaw was scoreless with three fouls, two turnovers and one assist in 14 minutes against Murray State.

"Marcus was absolutely awful," Hinson said. "That's about as PG-rated as I can say it. He was awful. Our guards were awful. Our three starting guards had one assist and seven turnovers. They must think it's a tax credit. It's unbelievable how our starting guards played."

Hinson added, "We made three turnovers tonight where we just came down and threw them the ball. I swear I thought one time that one of our players said, `Merry Christmas.'"

Hinson also blasted his big men, who combined to go 2 for 11.

"My wife can score more than two buckets on 11 shots, because I know my wife will at least shot-fake one time," Hinson said, his voice rising. "But those guys aren't listening. They're uncoachable right now."

Hinson suggested that he will make a point of having his players do push-ups or run on a treadmill if they don't do as they're told.

"To me, when you've got a young team, it's a lot like house training a puppy dog," Hinson said, rolling up a piece of paper and swatting the table in front of him. "You know what, when the dog does something wrong, `Bad dog.' Well, I'm not going to hit `em. I'm not going to swat `em. But, `Bad dog, get on the treadmill.' That's probably what we need to do."

The 52-year-old Hinson is in his second season at Southern Illinois. He went 14-17 after inheriting a program hamstrung by academic problems and personnel issues. He had spent the previous four seasons in an administrative position with the Kansas basketball program. He's 221-165 in 13 seasons as a head coach at SIU, Oral Roberts and Missouri State.

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