Hubbard’s suspension over, cleared to practice

By Kelly Hodge
Press Managing Sports Editor

East Tennessee State basketball coach Murry Bartow says senior forward Tommy Hubbard still has obligations to fulfill, but his suspension is officially over.

Hubbard was suspended indefinitely after an altercation on April 7 in which he reportedly damaged his girlfriend’s laptop. The charges were later dropped with certain conditions attached.

“Based on what happened, based on the agreement, based on things Tommy and I have discussed, there could still be some things that have to take place before he’s fully in good standing,” Bartow said Wednesday from Atlanta, where he was recruiting. “But he has been reinstated and is very much a part of our team. His suspension is over.”

Hubbard led the Bucs in scoring (13.9) and rebounding (8.2) as a junior. He’ll be part of a core of four seniors this season as the team shoots for its third straight Atlantic Sun Conference championship.

• Bartow certainly expects Hubbard to be a positive influence on his freshman roommate. Point guard Ryan Woumn is also from the Boston area and is the only scholarship freshman on the roster.

“Tommy and Ryan are from the same AAU program up in Boston,” said Bartow. “To have Tommy here for Ryan is huge. He’s got to be like a big brother and set a good example.”

Woumn said Tuesday that he’s still getting a feel for the East Tennessee scene. It’s obviously a world away from where he grew up in Lynn, Mass.

“It’s different than back home. Real different,” said Woumn. “But I’m getting used to it. I really like it here, to tell you the truth.”

Woumn averaged over 26 points and five assists as a senior at Lynn English High School and is expected to blossom into an outstanding playmaker for the Bucs. To his credit, he comes in with no preconceived notions about how his first season of college basketball will unfold.

“This year will be a learning experience, which is not a bad thing,” said Woumn. “People want to come in and start, but I think my first year will be about getting to know how coach Bartow runs his offense and defense. I’m going to watch Adam (Sollazzo) and the other guys to see how they do things.”

Woumn, 6-foot-3 and 170 pounds, has already gotten a glimpse of what his teammates are capable of.

“We’ve played pickup a whole bunch of times,” he said. “These guys are good.”

Woumn is one of four newcomers, along with junior-college forwards Anthony Johnson and Curtis Wilkinson, and Josh Johnson, the 6-10 walk-on from Gate City, Va.

Bartow and his staff always keep a closer eye on the players this time of year.

“We’re concerned about all the guys and want to make sure everybody gets off to a good start,” he said. “As I look at our team this year, Ryan is the youngest and a long way from home. The junior-college kids have come in from California, so they’re a long, long way from home.

“Those three could potentially be homesick, and they’re having to learn new faces, new terminology and a new system along with just going to school. They can be overwhelmed the first three or four weeks.”

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