Auburn associate head coach Chuck Person was arrested for his alleged involvement in a fraud-and-bribery scandal that has rocked college basketball, but this isn’t the first time the 53-year-old has been in hot water.
He got in trouble in 2004 for going to the bathroom.
“He’s obviously in big trouble with this latest college scandal, but I’ve known Chuck since he came into the league (in 1986),” patreon.com NBA and college hoops writer Peter Vecsey said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “What nobody really knows, when they had the Malace at the Palace (in November 2004), his job as an assistant coach for the Pacers was to sit on the end of the bench – because he’s a big guy, he became strong dude – and he was supposed to babysit Ron Artest.”
Well, on that night, at a key moment, he didn’t. The Pacers had a comfortable lead against the Pistons with less than a minute to go when Artest and Ben Wallace got into a scuffle. One thing led to another, all hell broke loose, and Artest ultimately ran into the crowd to attack a fan who threw a plastic cup at him.
“The game was basically over, and (Person) went to the bathroom,” Vecsey said. “When he came back, there was a riot. Nobody knows that. The real Pacers know it, but he blew his assignment there. Had he stayed where he was, (he might have) stopped Ron or would have been right next to him. I don’t think (he) would have let him lay on the table like that. (He) knew how to monitor him.”
Nine players were suspended for a total of 146 games. Arrest was suspended for 86 (73 regular season, 13 playoff).
“That could have changed the course of history,” Vecsey said. “Had he stayed on the bench, the Pacers might have won the championship that year because they were really good.”
Vecsey got to know Artest well over the years and said he wasn’t a bad guy. In fact, he was one of three people Vecsey invited to a golf outing to help raise money for Archbishop Malloy, a high school in New York.
“He came early, he stayed late, talking it up with everybody, nice as anything,” Vecsey said. “And the other two that day with Earl Monroe and Wally Szczerbiak. (Artest has) got such a soft side to him. But as we know, he has a tendency to go off at times.”