Oct 6 / Rob

Andre Nation Suspended. Again.

Nation vs IndianaFor a guy who makes pretty good decisions on the basketball court, Andre Nation seems to make some bad ones off it. Nation was suspended indefinitely from the JMU basketball team today. Because of course he was. Along with Nation, sophomore forward Tom Vodanovich was also suspended indefinitely. The two players reportedly got into a fight at Vodanovich’s residence Saturday night. The police were called, Vodanovich was hospitalized with facial injuries, and Nation was arrested. The DNR’s Nick Sunderland is reporting that Nation was charged with public swearing/intoxication, disorderly conduct, and assault. Vodanovich was charged with public swearing/intoxication, disorderly conduct, and underage possession. To be clear, this was a dumb move by both guys. Nation’s suspension will draw way more attention though. That’s the price he pays for being the star of the team and for this not being his first off the court issue during his time at JMU.

Depending on whether you count last season’s voluntary leave of absence (or however JMU phrased it), this is either Nation’s third or fourth suspension. Regardless, it puts him one strike closer to the apparently infinite number required to be permanently kicked off the team. Go ahead and assume all the normal caveats apply here; “this doesn’t mean he’s a bad person”, “college kids do dumb stuff”, “we don’t know the whole story”, etc. The fact is that this is more than a trend. It’s a pattern. As a JMU hoops fan, hearing the news that Nation was suspended, is sort of like a football player take his first hit in training camp. It’s really just a sign that the season is almost upon us.

We wish Andre well and hope this is the last time we’re discussing his off the court issues, but we’d be lying if we said we’re confident it will be. If history is any indicator, it’s really more a question of “when”, not “if” when discussing Nation doing something to jeopardize his status with the basketball team. And that’s incredibly sad because he’s a heck of a basketball player, who we love to cheer for. Again, we’re not saying he’s a bad guy. But he’s certainly not dependable, and has caused a number of distractions for the program. The only real question now, is how much rope is Brady going to give him?


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  1. Tamara / Oct 6 2014

    This is just sad and frustrating on many levels.

  2. Ken / Oct 6 2014

    dear mr. bourne,

    please circumvent your head coach and thank mr. nation for his contributions to jmu basketball, wish him well in his future endeavors and call it a day.

    move along; nothing new to see here, folks.

    where have you gone lou campanelli….?

  3. Deacon Danny / Oct 7 2014

    @Ken. Agree. It is time to move on. Regardless of how many strikes/chances the athletic department wants to give a player, I am pretty sure the University has a three strike rule. I’m sure Brady is thinking it must be basketball season because I am starting to lose all my players AGAIN.

  4. Shady_P / Oct 7 2014

    Absolutely agree Ken, time to cut ties with Andre. He has shown through his actions that he does not care about JMU or how his actions represent JMU.

    Time for JMU to do the right thing and pull his scholarship. He can stay at JMU if he has the grades but it will be on his own dime going forward and is off the team permanently.

    Also, like ‘The Deacon’ mentioned I would think this would fall under JMU’s 3 strikes policy and he would be gone with and does not need anything from the athletic department to do it. (2 drug suspensions and 1 alcohol related violation).

    The mens basketball team is a disaster — these kids (I refuse to refer to them as young men until the show some level of maturity) should not be living off-campus. The clearly do not have the maturity to do so and need RAs/coaches checking in on them constantly.

  5. Rob / Oct 7 2014

    I’m incredibly frustrated, but it’s tough for me to say “kick him out” without knowing all of the relevant details. I’m one of those idealists who thinks that college sports, especially at the level JMU plays, are more about preparing the players for life than prepping them for the pros or strictly racking up Ws. As a result, I’m torn between holding Nation strictly accountable and teaching him a lesson by kicking him off the team, and sticking with him to try to help create some structure and help him overcome some of the apparent immaturity issues. It’s a tough call.

  6. Shady_P / Oct 7 2014

    I can understand that conflict, but how many 2nd chances do you give a kid. He is getting a FREE EDUCATION to do something he loves to do and what is expected in return — go to class & follow team and university rules.

    It’s not like those us calling for him to get ‘booted’ are doing so based on a knee-jerk reaction from a 1st/2nd offense. He has been given more than ample opportunities to clean up his act and based on his actions he has shown me what is more important to him and it is NOT playing basketball at JMU. He can stay as a student like any other students if he wants to send a $10k check in January.

  7. Rob / Oct 7 2014

    I hear you Shady_P. I am uncomfortable with the endless second chances and apparent lack of accountability. Without knowing all of the details however, it’s tough for me to say he should be gone.

    Maybe the issue is bigger than this and in fact we’re seeing a complete lack of accountability with the program at large. In that sort of situation, I’d want the school to take a long hard look at the Brady, his staff, etc and see if a complete restructuring or reset is needed, instead of just throwing Andre out and not addressing the big picture.

  8. Shady_P / Oct 7 2014

    I agree, in addition to Andre being gone — I think the men’s basketball program need to be looked at very critically.

  9. Jay / Oct 7 2014

    I agree with Shady P. Andre has had enough chances and the life lesson here is if you want to do something you really love then play by the rules or go home. The program as a whole should be looked at. Almost seems as though our men’s basketball program is trying to be like FSU or Miami is in football. Please no more chances we deserve better.

  10. Rob / Oct 7 2014

    Fair enough guys. I’m all for accountability and he certainly been given plenty of second chances already. If things are as cut and dry as they appear (he keeps making poor choices), then he should be gone. I am simply reluctant to make a judgment without knowing all of the details and facts.

  11. Shady_P / Oct 7 2014

    For someone on thin ice as it is —- i know fighting + alcohol + police arrest do not equal a good thing. I gotta think JMU is done with this sideshow for good.

    Afterall, JMU is not a halfway house for wayward youth it is a freaking institution of higher learning first and foremost that sponsors NCAA athletics.

  12. Jay / Oct 7 2014

    I agree with Shady P. enough is enough cut your losses and move on.

  13. Ken / Oct 7 2014

    @ Rob and others:

    i am in violent agreement that other issues are probably in play here — anything from a substance abuse problem (NOT saying mr. nation has one) to “hey, coach brady won’t really do anything to me, so what the hey…” — that need some kind of outside attention. once is an isolated incident, three times is a pattern and 4+ is a negative behavioral trend. I believe this now is above the level of ‘coach’s decision’ regarding mr. nation; coach brady should still have control over mr. vadonavich’s situation, since this apparently his first offense.

    I missed the conference and ncaa tourney trips when i was a student manager because i missed the team bus to Towson (even though i made it to baltimore with the SID’s contingent and made shootaround and team meal, etc.). Pretty stiff by today’s standards, and maybe apples to oranges, but bottom line was my actions came with consequences. sucked to be me for that 2 weeks.

    we weren’t choir boys in those days and the social environment was certainly different (drinking age for beer was 18), but we didn’t beat our teammates senseless either. The local cops weren’t necessarily our allies in those days

    if he truly needs help, keep him on scholarship, get him the help and keep him on track for his degree — but his playing days at JMU should be over. i should think that they could find 2 years worth of scholarship $$ somewhere outside the athletic world.

    Something is not right inside that program when the players seem to be unwilling or unable to police themselves and their teammates.

    I’d like to see the day return when JMU making the tournament is not a cute cinderella story, but rather the ‘team no one wants to see on their side of the bracket’ story.

  14. Dukes09 / Oct 8 2014

    He’s gotta go along with the coaches. The basketball program has a serious lack of accountability and that not only falls on the shoulders of the players but the coaches that are supposedly overseeing them and being paid handedly to do so. I understand you can’t go and hold your player’s hand and escort them around fri/sat nights around town and coddle them but if you have had issues with players causing these distractions off the court a curfew would suffice or maybe even requiring that the players live on campus because apparently they wish to act like freshmen beyond 18-19 years of age.

  15. DukesBlosser / Oct 8 2014

    These aren’t the first Brady Dukes to get in trouble and be belligerent with the law in the last year+. Remember Goins? With all the other Nation troubles, if Brady lets him back after assaulting another player and sending him to the hospital, then we’ll know who the real leader of this team is – and it ain’t the coach. Maybe Cook and Bessick had more insights into the potential coming troubles than we know and took the safer transfer route. Of course, there’s no guarantee that Nation will keep his academic eligibility. Anything less than a full season suspension, increased academic requirements and community service requirements will not be to Nation’s benefit. Assuming a decision is based on what’s best for this student.

  16. Bhagavan / Oct 8 2014

    I want Brady gone. Every year the house gets cleaned with transfers leaving anyway. Let’s just hit the “reset” button on this program and try again.

  17. Shady_P / Oct 9 2014

    Could we maybe kill two birds with one stone. Offer Kenny Brooks the head job of the men’s program therby we can then up his salary and he is not nearly as likley to be lured away by other women’s program for more $$$. With the exception of HUGE women’s programs the mens job at JMU is a good salary bump for him. Then bump one of his assistants if qualified to lead the women’s program. If I remember correctly kenny was originally with the men’s program before going over to the women’s program…..but I could be making that part up.

  18. Andre supporter / Jan 19 2015

    Some like to make Andre out as a “bad” kid. I know he has had his time of hard times. I don’t uphold him in the things he has done, BUT we don’t know the whole story on some of the things…. Such as he gets in a fight with his team mate- what was the fight over??? Was he defending himself? Is the finger being pointed at him cause of his past problems? We don’t know all the story. I’m not saying he shouldn’t have be kicked off the team but I am saying … look at your life how were you at that age? They always say don’t throw stones when you live in a glass house. To Dukes Blosser , you have to bring up Goins. Everyone says to move on when it comes to Nation. My opinion you should move on Goins hasn’t been in the program for a few years. We all make mistakes, instead of putting them on the chopping block we need to pray for them, and stop judging them.

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