Last week the University of Richmond dismissed De’Monte Buckingham from the basketball program for a violation of Athletic Department policy.
Spider fans everywhere were shocked and immediately wanted a full story.
They wanted to know why De’Monte, a much loved player, was forced off of the team.
Prior to his dismissal, Buck had only been in trouble (to public knowledge) once, when he was suspended for the George Mason game this past season due to a violation of team rules.
A report surfaced on April 6th from an anonymous twitter account called “theballoutmedia” that said Buckingham had asked for his release from UofR but the account wasn’t certain if Coach Chris Mooney had granted it. The account did not immediately respond to any of my direct messages and then deleted my DM thread with my questions in it.
The story seemed to go away.
At that time I had not heard anything from anyone credible that this was true.
Then on April 17th, I was told by two people, both of whom had informed me of Khwan Fore’s release before that news broke, that the report in regards to Buckingham by the account was true.
A day later De’Monte was dismissed from the team.
UR does not owe anyone except Buck and his family an explanation.
Many have speculated that he failed a drug test.
We want to know what happened because that is our nature as humans. Whether it is to empathize with him, bash him or the university, or just be crappy twitter trolls, we want to know.
There are likely going to be two schools of thought to this story (with shades of truth sprinkled in both) if nothing else becomes of this and it goes away.
One being that Buck was a victim. He wanted out and didn’t get it and UR broke up with him.
The other is that Buck made a mistake and was given chances and never wanted to leave and UR had to do what any school would.
Unless De’Monte or his family wants to speak out against Richmond, and we should respect his right to either do so or stay quiet, because most potential transfer destinations would look upon him speaking ill about his prior program, no matter the facts, as a detriment. Speaking out might affect his ability to get back on a roster. Whether that’s fair or not is a separate question.
The guy is a local product who gave two good years to this program.
I am a talk show host. My job is to try be fair and tell you how I think things are.
I incorporate journalistic techniques in my game, but am not a beat writer, or someone who’s job is to strictly report ONLY the facts and have a relationship with one team.
The facts in this story have become blurry like any that attracts gossip due to lack of information.
I tend to believe in people and originally believed Buck wasn’t leaving Richmond up until the moment he was dismissed.
Did Buck meet with Mooney before he was dismissed? Seems like it, but that’s not 100% certain.
Let’s take this week to accomplish two things.
First, let’s believe in De’Monte Buckingham. Whatever is happening with him personally isn’t ideal. Regardless if you judge a person for partying or if you’re like me and understand that’s what normal college students do, we should all remember that he is a talented basketball player who worked hard his whole life to earn a scholarship to a great academic school and now no longer is in that position in his life. I have hope that he can once again represent the 804 in a positive manner on a court somewhere despite what actually transpired in his relationship with UR.
If he or his family wants to tell their story, cool, if not, respect.
Second, let’s stop bashing Richmond basketball for a second. I’ve ripped on a lot of sports teams and players in this area and will continue to do so if they merit critique. UR is a mess. I don’t care about any excuses. Whether it’s the coaches’ fault, the player’s fault, the program’s fault, the academic standards of the school, the transfer culture in basketball, whatever. If you want the current players to stay, find some positivity inside of you and channel it.
John Hardt is there.
He is taking notes.
Let’s trust him to do that.
For a minute, just a minute, let’s lay off nitpicking the inadequacies of Spider basketball and try and move forward. Don’t accept the steady decline in results, I’m not saying that. Always want the best for your team. Always.
This year might suck. I think Gilyard, Golden, and Sherod will have a say in that though.
All I’m suggesting is, have a little faith that even in these crucial dark times, in the long run things will get better.
Even if we don’t get the full story in relation to Buck, it could be for the better if it enables De’Monte to have a fresh start at a new place and UofR to experience what rock bottom is like in the midst of an off-season and wake the hell up.