Know those strong-man things where you hit the hammer and ring the bell if
you're good? If you make that the stupid-ometer, then Damon
Thornton is taking home all the prizes.
That is if he manages to get out of the parking lot without getting pulled.
He has now pretty much sabotaged the end of last season for State, with his
outburst at Maryland, and now the
beginning of this season as well,
in the aftermath of his latest arrest. That's hard work for just an
average bellringer, but we're beginning to believe he's something else again.
On the other hand, in our preview of State we said that they'd be better
off when Thornton was gone. We still believe that and think that the
sooner they get around to officially kicking him off the team the better the
team will be.
The other really sad thing is that State has done a lot of good work to
overcome the stigma of the Valvano years, and made academics a priority,
and Sendek has done what they've asked him to do: graduate his players
and win games. What they've done to rehabilitate their image has been
real, substantive, and deeply impressive.
Of course, Thornton's last arrest came over last New Years, and he was on
probation for a year for that little issue, so it could well be that he may be
facing jail time.
Sendek and new AD Lee Fowler are using the language of addiction to
discretely discuss this problem, but from this distance, who knows.
Whatever the cause is, though, the guy has had numerous chances and numerous
screwups. It's State's problem, but if it were us we'd cut him loose in
a heartbeat. We don't doubt that there are worthwhile things about Damon
Thornton, just like there are in most people, and maybe he has a serious
problem, and if he does, then Sendek and the athletic department have a moral
obligation to try to help him. But his problems are sabotaging him team
and embarrassing his University, and it's hard to see how either can continue
to put up with it.