As camp approaches, the string of bizarre and embarrassing stories continues for Oregon basketball. This time, a shoplifting incident involving forward Elgin Cook and guard Jalil Abdul-Bassit has come to light:
The latest run-in with the law by players on the University of Oregon men's basketball team happened Sept. 12, in the form of the shoplifting arrest of Jalil Abdul-Bassit and Elgin Cook, The Register-Guard has learned.
The two were caught with stolen goods at the Market of Choice on Franklin Boulevard at 3:17 p.m., which constitutes Theft 3, Eugene Police Department spokeswoman Melinda McLaughlin confirmed Saturday afternoon.
This incident, by itself, is a pretty common occurrence in every grocery store in America. The student athletes involved will likely get a fine and community service, and everyone will go on their way. Dana Altman says that discipline will be handled internally.
However, the Oregon basketball team suffered a massive black eye with the sexual assault incident earlier this summer that resulted in the expulsion of three basketball players. That left huge black mark a coach and a program that had amassed a huge amount of community goodwill over the past few season. They needed to show that such an incident was a one-time mistake. While this is nowhere near the severity of that earlier incident, it will do nothing to engender goodwill from fans who have been turned off of the team.
This is even further the case when you consider that the team is likely to struggle on the court this season with the dismissal of three players after the sexual asault incident, as well as the university declining to admit two of Oregon's recruits, leaving the Ducks woefully short on scholarship players.
Basketball season starts Nov. 4 with an exhibition against Northwest Christian.